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John Henson -- son of the iconic Jim Henson -- dies of heart attack at 48

By Greg Botelho, CNN
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1948 GMT (0348 HKT)
John Henson, son of Jim Henson, voiced
John Henson, son of Jim Henson, voiced "The Muppets" character Sweetums.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • John Henson dies at home at the age of 48, the Jim Henson Company announces
  • He suffered a "sudden, massive heart attack," according to the company
  • John was a shareholder, board member with the Jim Henson Company
  • His father helped develop "The Muppets," "Fraggle Rock" and "Sesame Street"

(CNN) -- John Henson -- a son of the late, great children's entertainment visionary Jim Henson -- died after a "sudden, massive heart attack," his family's company said.

The Jim Henson Company announced the death of the 48-year-old son of its iconic founder in a Facebook post Saturday.

He died Friday while at home with one of his two daughters, the post said. John Henson is also survived by his wife, Gyongyi, and his siblings Lisa, Cheryl, Brian and Heather.

Two other members of his family had top jobs in their father's namesake company, with Brian Henson as chairman and Lisa Henson as CEO. John Henson is listed prominently as one of five members of "the Henson family" on the company's website.

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John Henson served as a shareholder and board member of The Jim Henson Company.

According to imdb.com, John Henson was active in the family business in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, perhaps most notably for his portrayal of Sweetums, a large, gruff-looking, lovable character on "The Muppets."

His father, Jim, died suddenly in 1990, after a celebrated career in which he launched shows like "The Muppets," "Fraggle Rock" and created beloved characters from "Sesame Street" such as Big Bird, Elmo, the Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch.

Last April, John's mother, Jane Nabel Henson -- who met Jim in a puppetry class at the University of Maryland in 1954 and married him five years later -- died at the age of 79 after a "long battle with cancer."

Jane Henson dies of cancer

The Jim Henson Company itself remains busy with fantasy and sci-fi productions as well as children's animated series such as "Sid the Science Kid" and "Dinosaur Train."

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