The man behind Kermit the Frog's iconically warbled voice said he's devastated to have been fired from the post after nearly 30 years standing behind the amphibian.

Steve Whitmire, who's been Kermit's lifeline since 1990, has been employed by the Muppets more broadly since 1978, and has cited creator Jim Henson as his mentor. He said in a blog post published the day after his firing was made public that he didn't see his cut coming, and that he's gutted.

"For me the Muppets are not just a job, or a career, or even a passion. They are a calling, an urgent, undeniable, impossible to resist way of life," Whitmire wrote. "This is my life's work since I was 19 years old. I feel that I am at the top of my game, and I want all of you who love the Muppets to know that I would never consider abandoning Kermit."

"I am devastated to have failed in my duty to my hero," he added. Whitmire also claimed that Muppets Studios has "two issues" with him but would not disclose what either was.

"I wish that we could have sat down, looked each other in the eye, and discussed what was on their minds before they took such a drastic action," he said.

Muppets Studios said in a statement to Time that it "thanks Steve for his tremendous contributions to Kermit the Frog and the Muppets franchise. We wish him well in his future endeavors."

Matt Vogel, a veteran of the Muppets world, is said to be taking over for Whitmire, according to The Hollywood Reporter

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