PITTSBURGH - It’s the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one for one of the world’s most famous sandwiches.
The Pittsburgh-area McDonald's franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago died Monday. Michael "Jim" Delligatti was 98.
McDonald's spokeswoman Kerry Ford confirmed that Delligatti died at his Fox Chapel home surrounded by his family.
His death comes after the recent announcement that McDonald’s is introducing two new versions of his famous burger.
Delligatti was one of the original McDonald’s franchisees and operated several restaurants in the Pittsburgh area.
His franchise was based in Uniontown when he invented the chain's signature burger in 1967. The classic Big Mac includes a pair of beef patties, “special sauce,” lettuce, cheese, onions and pickles on a sesame seed bun, with an extra bun segment sandwiched between the two patties.
Delligatti told The Associated Press in 2006 that Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald's resisted the idea at first, because its simple lineup of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and shakes was selling well. But Delligatti wanted to offer a bigger burger, and it went over so well it spread to the rest of Delligatti's 47 restaurants. The sandwich went national in 1968.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.