John Paul Henson, son of Muppets creator Jim Henson and performer of Sweetums, dies at 48

12:52 PM, Feb 16, 2014   |    comments
Sweetums holds a plaque honouring the Muppets at the unveiling of their Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in front of the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood on March 20, 2012 in California. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (USA TODAY) - John Paul Henson followed his father, Muppets creator Jim Henson, into puppeteering, and sadly, to an early death.

The younger Henson, 48, fell victim to a sudden heart attack Friday in Saugerties, N.Y.

John was the puppeteer behind the ogre Sweetums.

He leaves behind a wife, Gyongi, and two daughters, Katrina, 15, and Sydney, 10.

The Muppets have been back in the spotlight recently, thanks to their new film, Muppets Most Wanted, opening March 21, and a series of Super Bowl commercials for the Toyota Highlander.

A statement from the Henson Company read, "It is with great sadness that we confirm that John Henson, son of Jim and Jane Henson and brother to Lisa, Cheryl, Brian and Heather, died at age 48 of a sudden massive heart attack on Friday, February 14, while at home with his daughter. John served as a shareholder and board member of The Jim Henson Company. He leaves two daughters, Katrina (15) and Sydney (10) and his wife Gyongyi. A private service is being planned."

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