A beloved and artistic American hero has passed — such is life …

The pink flamingo lawn ornament is a true American sign of kitsch and tackiness that helped put décor-deaf neighbors on the map in early suburban areas and to this day continues to dress up trailer parks with class. It’s with unfortunate sadness that we report the creator of the iconic lawn greeting, Donald Featherstone, has passed away at the age of 79.

Created in 1957 by Featherstone for a plastics company named Union Products, the pink flamingo has sold millions of units worldwide since its creation. To honor the passing of the creator of one of the most “American” things to ever exist, we dug deep on the web to find a few facts surrounding the bird:

* Featherstone has never received any royalties for the birds, but worked his way up to Vice President of Union Plastics in his 43 years of service to the company

* Featherstone is a trained sculptor with a classical art background — he modeled the bird after reading an issue of National Geographic

* In 1996 Featherstone was given an Ig Nobel Prize for the creation. The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the Nobel Prize and is given to artists to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”

* The birds first cost $2.76 for a pair when they were initially launched in stores

* The city of Madison, WI named the pink flamingo as the city’s official bird in 2009

* In the late 1960s and '70s the lawn decoration had faded out of production, but saw an unusual surge in 1985 with more than 450,000 sold in the United States. Sources claim it’s all Miami Vice’s fault