Skip to main content

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.

Click through to see people who passed away in 2014. Click through to see people who passed away in 2014.
People we lost in 2014
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2014 Photos: People we lost in 2014

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."

People we've lost in 2014

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 25, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
October 26, 2014 -- Updated 0007 GMT (0807 HKT)
Jack Bruce, bassist for the legendary 1960s rock band Cream, has died at 71.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Ben Bradlee, the charismatic Washington Post editor who guided the paper through the era of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, has died. He was 93.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who spent half a century putting high society in haute couture, has died. He was 82.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam (right) in Sydney with former Labor Party leader Kim Beazley. Whitlam, one of the nation's most admired figures who led the country through a period of massive change, died on October 21, 2014, aged 98, his family said.
Edward Gough Whitlam, the former Australian Prime Minister who strengthened ties abroad, has died.
October 19, 2014 -- Updated 1817 GMT (0217 HKT)
Singer and model Joanne Borgella, an "American Idol" contestant in 2008, died at age 32 after a battle with cancer.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1712 GMT (0112 HKT)
"August: Osage County" actress Misty Upham was declared dead by a Washington coroner after her body was found along a river in suburban Seattle.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
Actress Elizabeth Peña has died of natural causes after a brief illness. She was 55.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, the keyboardist in Jack White's backing band, has died at age 38. The musician also played with bands such as Mars Volta and Free Moral Agents.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)
Mark Bell, who founded the highly influential techno music duo LFO and later collaborated with Bjork on several iconic albums, has died.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Actress and comedian Jan Hooks died in New York. She was 57
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Geoffrey Holder, a versatile artist known for his ability as a dancer, actor and -- most famously to most of America -- a pitchman for 7Up, has died at age 84.
October 6, 2014 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
Paul Revere, leader of the 1960s rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders, has died at age 76.
October 5, 2014 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier died of a heart attack in Port-au-Prince at the age of 63, a family member told CNN.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT)
Former U.S. Rep. James Traficant of Ohio died after suffering injuries in an earlier accident on his farm.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Eric "The Actor" Lynch, who became a celebrity among celebrities by calling in to Howard Stern's radio show, died at age 39.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
Emmy-winning actress Polly Bergen, whose TV and movie career spanned more than six decades, has died at age 84.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
Singer George Hamilton IV died at a Nashville hospital following a heart attack. He was 77.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
Northern Ireland's former first minister and former Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley has died. He was 88.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Richard Kiel, the actor best known for playing the James Bond villain "Jaws," died at age 74 in a California hospital.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 2056 GMT (0456 HKT)
Actress Molly Glynn, who played an emergency room doctor on several "Chicago Fire" episodes, died from injuries after a tree fell on her during a storm.
ADVERTISEMENT