(NEW YORK) — Ira “Bob” Born, known lovingly as the “Father of Peeps,” the famed marshmallow candies, has died at 98.

Just Born Quality Confections announced Wednesday that Born, who was the son of the company’s founder Sam Born, “passed away peacefully on the morning of January 29.”

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“Bob will be remembered as a tireless and passionate advocate for the candy industry and a wonderful supporter of our community. Bob was our second-generation family member whose dedication was instrumental in Just Born reaching our 100-year milestone. We extend our deepest sympathy to his son, Ross, and the entire family,” David Shaffer, board chair and co-CEO of Just Born, said in a statement.

Born dedicated his life to the science and process of candy making, inventing a way for the iconic Easter candy to be produced mechanically, versus by hand.

After designing the machine that deposits the Peeps Marshmallow chicks, which was used for over 50 years, Born also invented Hot Tamales after reworking Mike and Ike candies.

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His last visit to the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was Feb. 15, 2019, the company said, where he was honored for “Bob Born Day” to mark the first day of the Easter season.

Born’s Peeps have over the years become a year-round sugary treat and household brand for seasonal celebrations beyond Easter, including Halloween and Christmas.

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