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Weimar for The New York Times Billy Mays filmed segments for a Kaboom commercial at Omnicomm Studios in Clearwater, Fla., in February.

In a week unusually rife with celebrity death, it's a little spooky to note that the king of pop, Michael Jackson, and the king of pitchmen, Billy Mays, were born within about six weeks of each other in 1958.


Mays, who was found dead this morning by his wife in their Tampa, Fla., home, was one of the loudest and, perhaps as a consequence, one of the most familiar voices on American television, as Rob Walker noted recently in The New York Times Magazine.

Since his death was reported this morning, the top trending topics on Twitter have been "RIP Billy Mays" followed by the product with which he was most closely associated, the stain remover OxiClean.


3: the misspelling "OxyClean.") One tweet notes, "He was the only human that was allowed to speak entirely in CAPS LOCK." Much of the discussion on Twitter and on Mays fan sites involved speculation that a rough landing Saturday night at the Tampa airport, caused by a blown front tire on a U.S.

Airways flight Philadelphia, might have been a factor in his death.

An autopsy is scheduled to be completed on Monday.

He had recently emerged from the infomercial ghetto with a reality show, "Pitchmen" on the Discovery Channel, in which he and his fellow pitchman Anthony Sullivan judged inventors' proposals for new products.

But Mr.

Mays was already a major presence in the Web video world, where his own braying infomercials exist side by side with a thriving genre of Mays parodies, remixes and outtakes.

Among the more popular: the "Mighty Putty Dub," in which Mr.

Mays appears to develop Tourette's midway through his pitch, and the "billy mays gangsta remix."
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