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Big Mac creator Michael James 'Jim' Delligatti dies aged 98

The Big Mac was created by Michael James 'Jim' Delligatti in 1967. Credit: PA Wire

The McDonalds franchisee who created the Big Mac, Michael James "Jim" Delligatti, has died at the age of 98.

Delligatti, who created the iconic burger in 1967, passed away at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He invested the McDonald signature burger at his franchise in Uniontown, not far from Pittsburgh, after deciding customers wanted a bigger burger.

Demand soared after Delligatti's sandwich spread to the rest of his 47 stores in Pennsylvania. It was added to the chain's national menu in 1968.

Delligatti's son Michael said: "He was often asked why he named it the Big Mac, and he said because Big Mc sounded too funny."

McDonalds said in a statement: "Delligatti was a legendary franchisee within McDonald's system who made a lasting impression on our brand."

The Big Mac contains 508 calories in the UK and is now sold in more than 100 countries around the world.

Delligatti is survived by his two sons, his wife Ellie, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

His funeral will be held on Saturday at St. Joseph's Parish in O'Hara Township, Pennsylvania.