(Reuters) – The man behind one of the most recognizable fast-food sandwiches, McDonald’s Big Mac, died this week at age 98.

Michael James Delligatti invented the Big Mac – two beef patties on a hamburger bun – which debuted at a McDonald’s restaurant in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1967.


McDonald’s tweeted a message on Wednesday celebrating Delligatti’s contribution to the fast-food company where he was a franchisee.

“Today, we celebrate the 98 inspirational years of Big Mac inventor, Michael “Jim” Delligatti. Jim, we thank and will forever remember you”, the company said.

U.S. media reported that Delligatti died at his Pennsylvania home on Monday.

In a 2007 interview with Reuters, Delligatti said it took two years to convince McDonald’s that the Big Mac was a good idea.

“I felt that we needed a big sandwich,” he said. “But you couldn’t do anything unless they gave you permission.”

The contents of the sandwich, immortalized by the popular jingle “two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun” are generally the same worldwide, although prices and nutrition value varies.

The U.S. version of the Big Mac contains about 540 calories, 28 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein, according to the McDonald’s website.

Over the years the Big Mac’s ubiquity has come to mirror that of the Golden Arches itself. It is used to track the value of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar in a “Big Mac Index” published by The Economist magazine. [/restrict]