Donald Duck, the legendary entertainer and consummate showman, has died of cancer at the age of 81.
A statement was issued by Disney CEO Bob Iger, saying Duck “died peacefully” Thursday night, “surrounded by his family and loved ones.”
Known for his fiery temper and soulful, earthy quack, Donald Duck appeared in over 200 feature films, shorts, and television series, as well as comics, theme park attractions and children’s books. Originally portraying a “screwball comedy” character conceived as a balance to his longtime collaborative partner Mickey Mouse, Duck became a core member of Disney’s funny animal films and delighted generations of children. He is particularly known for his signature phrases, including “Aw, phooey,” “Why I oughta…” and “WAGGHKKAWAKWAKWAKWAK.”
The son of Scottish immigrants, Donald changed his last name from McDuck in order to make a start in Hollywood (though it would later be used openly by Donald’s uncle, Scrooge). Making his first appearance in 1934’s The Wise Little Hen, he is widely recognized for paving the way for ducks and, indeed, birds of all kinds in show business.
“#RIPDONALD, No doubt we o u everything, countless fowl would hav no career if not for u!” tweeted the angry bird from angry birds.
Duck was also recognized for his service in World War 2, and proudly wore his sailor’s uniform for much of his career.
“My Uncle Donald taught me so much about the world,” said Duck’s nephew, Louie, who has portrayed the original Donald character since 2006’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse premiered. “He taught me the importance of family, and of making people laugh. he will be missed by so many.”