BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — A man who was best known for blowing bubbles out of his third-floor apartment window at Elmwood and Allen Street has died. Chuck Incorvaia passed away Tuesday at the age of 75.

“Anyone who’s been in Buffalo, especially west side of Buffalo and Allentown area, they know about Bubble guy,” said Danny Woodbridge, who used to bring out of towners to the intersection to show them the joy those bubbles would bring passers-by.

“Those bubbles to me signified how fleeting life is,” said Matthew Arambarry, of Buffalo. “Honestly because the bubble pops and it’s gone and that iridescence and those that you saw in it that maybe other people didn’t even see, you know it’s gone.”

Incorvaia was already famous in 2009 when he explained to reporter Jericka Duncan in his own words how he was going through health problems but considered blowing the bubbles as a way to lift his spirits and the spirits of others. He recalled a police officer who once looked like she was having a bad day. “She’s staring up at the bubbles and you could watch it happen. Her arms went down, she was relaxed. Her shoulders went down about 3 inches, I mean she just relaxed and then she just kind of smiled at me, waved, got back in her car and left.”

Here’s a look at Jericka’s original 2009 story:

Thousands of people have seen the bubbles coming out of that third-floor window at Elmwood and Allen Street, but it wasn’t really until Thursday when his relatives who own Jim’s Steakout posted on the company’s Facebook page about Chuck’s death that they truly realized the impact he had.

“Some of our most popular posts will get a few hundred shares and maybe a couple of thousand views. This has been viewed by over 160,000 people and it’s been shared over 5,000 times,” said Shawn Richter, Chuck’s nephew. “I read some of the stories about how people would go to and from Children’s Hospital and stop by to see the bubbles, and it was a great thing to see.”

Chuck was a graduate of Burgard Vocational School in Buffalo. he became a cook and then served in the US Navy, but came home suffering from some emotional and physical challenges. His story is actually recorded in the Library of Congress, and on Thursday, Mayor Byron Brown released a statement of condolence to his family saying, in part, “Our city’s eclectic Allentown neighborhood lost a beloved friend Tuesday.”

Dennis Drayton lived right across Allen Street from Incorvaia and would see the response from pedestrians every day. “Them bubbles mean so much to the people out here because they come out here in the middle of the street chasing the bubbles and all that like, I don’t know, sad day, I can say that.”

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.