My first thought about this was...well, read the first post of today on my twitter page (at right).
Here's what we know about the situation:
Details continue to be released, albeit slowly, about the circumstances under which Mays was found. He apparently died in his sleep late last night/very early this morning.
Reports indicate he went to bed around 10 PM last night, saying he didn't feel well. He had been a passenger on US Airways Flight 1241 from Philadelphia, PA to Tampa, FL, which had a hard landing upon arrival in Tampa when the tire under the nose of the plane blew out. According to FOX station WTVT-TV in Tampa, when the plane hit the ground, a piece of luggage came out of the underground compartment and struck Mays on the head. That occurrance hasn't officially been connected to Mays' death yet.
Now that I've had a couple hours to think through this, here's my reaction.
Mays was, by far, most successful at what he did. It is now impossible to see commercials for Oxyclean, Mighty Mendit and other things he hawked, and NOT recognize the voice. In his final months, he also did ads for ESPN360.com and had his own long-form TV show, Pitchmen on the Discovery Channel. He truly sold me on the TV show, even if I didn't buy the products.
Mays is a legendary pitchman. If there was a hall of fame for TV infomercial pitchmen...well, Mays would be at the top of the list. Mikey and I might have occasionally joked about seeing him on TV so much, but...he was great at what he did.
RIP Billy Mays
Courage + Belief = LIFE
Christmas at the Log Cabin
10 months ago