Michael “Jim” Delligatti ate at least one 540-calorie Big Mac a week for decades before he died on Monday night.
Delligatti”s franchise was based in Pittsburgh when in 1967 he invented the chain”s signature burger with two beef burgers, “special sauce”, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun.
The sad news comes as an airline may start stocking McDonald”s.
The bigger burger went down so well it spread to the rest of Delligatti”s 47 stores, then went national in 1968.
“I felt that we needed a big sandwich,” the Delligatti told Reuters in 2007.
“But you couldn”t do anything unless they gave you permission.”
The product was “an immediate success” and the recipe has not changed in the 40 years.
Delligatti added: “The first day we just used the regular bun, we didn”t have any centre (bread) slice.
“Making it that way made it very sloppy. The next day we put the centre slice in, and today it looks the same.”
McDonald”s said yesterday in a statement: “Delligatti was a legendary franchisee within McDonald”s system who made a lasting impression on our brand.
It added: “The Big Mac has become an iconic sandwich enjoyed by many around the world.”
In addition to his two sons, Jim Delligatti is survived by his wife, Ellie, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.