The man who’s played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street since its debut in 1969 is leaving the show at the end of the week. Caroll Spinney will make his last trip to work Thursday at the Sesame Street studios in Queens, New York, after which his iconic roles will be passed on to new performers. A spokesperson for Sesame Workshop said Spinney had appeared in thousands of the more than 4,400 episodes of the show. “I always thought, How fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets?” said Spinney. “Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life.” Due to health problems, he stopped doing the puppeteering for Big Bird in 2015 and has since been providing only the voices for him and Oscar. His final voice recordings will be used when the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street is celebrated on the show next year on HBO and in 2020 on PBS.