The actor recalled the sad story on Thursday (07May15) during an online question and answer session for Reddit.com's Ask Me Anything series, revealing he was asked to give young Joey a call in character via a letter from the kid's father.

Spinney wrote, "He said the only thing that cheered him at all in his fading state was to see Big Bird on television.

"And I had Big Bird say, 'Hello! Hello Joey! It's me, Big Bird!' I chatted a while with him, about 10 minutes, and he said 'I'm glad you're my friend, Big Bird.'"

Spinney later received a second letter from Joey's father, who told him that moments after the call, his son took his last breath and closed his eyes forever.

The note read: "We haven't seen our little boy smile in months. He smiled, as he passed away. It was a gift to us. Thank you."

Concluding the story, Spinney, who also voices the character Oscar the Grouch, added, "(Through that letter) I could see that what I say to children can be very important."