Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria Rodriquez on "Sesame Street," and the muppet Grover at an event in New York City on Feb. 27, 2002.
George De Sota—Getty Images
July 2, 2015 12:57 PM EDT

She’s helped generations of children grow up and she’s met many a Muppet in her day. But after 44 years playing human Sesame Street resident Maria, actress Sonia Manzano is retiring.

Manzano, 65, made the announcement on Tuesday during an address at the American Library Association Annual Conference. She has since fielded an outpouring of grief from fans.

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