Linny Boyette Dies; Today Show Superfan Was 71

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Linny Boyette has passed away. If you're a viewer of NBC's Today Show, the name may ring a bell, and it earned a special sendoff from the anchors.

"For so many years, the first person we saw" was Boyette, said Matt Lauer this morning on Today, before moving on to discuss Miley Cyrus' sexual peak.

Linny Boyette Photo

Boyette was an enormous fan of the show, and viewers often saw him on TV, standing with the crowds gathered outside the show in New York City.

Now, Today is mourning the loss of the supporter who died Sunday after complications from a heart attack, reported Natalie Morales. Boyette was 71.

A military veteran born in England, Linny took the subway from his home in the Bronx, N.Y., to arrive on the plaza outside Today by about 5:30 a.m.

Having reserved his spot, he would pass the time until the show began at 7 a.m. by reading the paper, drinking tea and chatting with other Today fans.

"It's something to do every morning. It makes my day," he said in 2010.

He had become especially close to Meredith Vieira, who managed to get him inside the studio in 2012 (he refused invitations from the crew, said Lauer).

Tweeted Vieira: "So saddened to hear of Linny's passing. I always loved seeing him every morning on the plaza. He had a wonderful smile and so sweet."

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When is his funeral? "Today" hasn't really been honoring linny. What a shame:(

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also known as "happy boydette the funnest negro around - can't u tell ????