The creator of the most iconic menu item from America’s most iconic fast-food chain has died: The AP reports Michael “Jim” Delligatti, who invented McDonald’s Big Mac in 1968, died at his Pittsburgh home on Monday night.
Delligatti created the Big Mac in 1968 in response to customers who wanted a bigger burger; after it became a hit at his 47 stores, McDonald’s eventually decided to roll it out company-wide.
Thanks to an earworm jingle that debuted in 1974, the Big Mac recipe is known far and wide: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. The burger, which clocks in at 540 calories, is served in more than 100 countries.
Though it’s called “secret sauce,” the recipe for Big Mac sauce is widely available: It consists of mayo, relish, and mustard anointed with seasonings including garlic powder and paprika. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped die-hard fans from paying insane prices for it on eBay.
In 2007 McDonald’s estimated 550 million Big Macs were sold worldwide each day, and that number has almost certainly grown since then. The company is doing its best to capitalize on the Big Mac’s long-running success as of late, testing both mini and maxi versions (called the Mac Jr. and the Grand Mac, respectively).