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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sound-effects specialist Wayne Allwine, who followed in the footsteps of Walt Disney to provide the falsetto voice of Mickey Mouse for the past 32 years, has died, Walt Disney Co said Wednesday.
Allwine succumbed to complications from diabetes at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles Monday. He was 62.
He was only the third person to lend his voice to the famed rodent. Disney himself started voicing Mickey Mouse in 1928, when he made his talking debut in "Steamboat Willie." Jimmy Macdonald took over the responsibilities in 1947 and handed over the reins to his protege Allwine in 1977.
Allwine provided Mickey's voice for such movies as "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983), "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988), and "The Prince and the Pauper" (1990). He also brought Mickey to life for Disney theme parks, television, radio and live stage events.
"Wayne dedicated his entire professional life to Disney, and over the last 32 years, gave so much joy, happiness and comfort to so many around the world by giving voice to our most beloved, iconic character, Mickey Mouse," Disney Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said.
Born in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale in 1947, Allwine joined Disney in 1966, working his way up from a job in the mail room. He worked under sound-effects expert Macdonald for seven-and-a-half years, editing such Disney films as "Splash" (1984) and "Three Men and a Baby" (1987).
"Mickey's the real star," Allwine once said of his job. "You know you just have to love the little guy while you have him, because he won't be yours forever."
Allwine is survived by his wife, Russi Taylor, who provides the voice of Minnie Mouse, and five children from previous marriages.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Todd Eastham