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Michael "Jim" Delligatti

AP Photo / File / Gene J. Puskar

Michael "Jim" Delligatti

Michael "Jim" Delligatti, who created McDonald's iconic Big Mac sandwich, died Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 98.

Delligatti invented the sandwich in 1967 at one of his McDonald’s franchise restaurants in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, which is near Pittsburgh. He decided that his customers would like to eat a larger sandwich. He was right, and the sandwich became hugely popular at all of his 48 locations.

Delligatti said he labored for two years to come up with the right combination for his "special sauce." The burger with two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun was added to McDonald’s menu nationwide in 1968. McDonald’s has never changed the recipe for his Big Mac.

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Delligatti told The Associated Press in 2006 that McDonald's resisted the idea at first because their simple lineup of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, and shakes was selling well.

"They figured, why go to something else if the original menu was working so well?" Delligatti said. McDonald’s has sold over a billion Big Macs around the world.

"Delligatti was a legendary franchisee within McDonald's system who made a lasting impression on our brand," the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said Wednesday in a statement. The Big Mac "has become an iconic sandwich enjoyed by many around the world."

McDonald’s also paid tribute on Twitter: “Today, we celebrate the 98 inspirational years of Big Mac inventor, Michael "Jim" Delligatti. Jim, we thank and will forever remember you.”

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