John Toomey, the 69-year-old Macy’s Union Square Santa who was fired for making an inappropriate joke to an adult couple last year while working, was found dead in his residential hotel room on Friday afternoon, according to CBS.
While the cause of death is under investigation, police believe that Toomey died of natural causes. A neighbor went to check on Toomey after he said he hadn’t been feeling well and found him on the floor of his room, SFGate reported.
Toomey worked in the San Francisco store for 20 years, but gained media fame last year when he was fired for cracking dirty jokes to a couple. According to SF Weekly, when adults sat on his knee, he would ask if they had been good. If they replied yes, he would reply, “that’s too bad.” And then remark that Santa was jolly because he “knows where all the naughty boys and girls live.” Toomey later insisted that he never used that kind of humor around children.
After his termination, Toomey appeared on the “The Tonight Show” and worked as Santa at popular restaurant, Lefty O’Doul’s, downtown. Lefty’s owner Nick Bovis told SFGate that Toomey helped make the annual toy drive the most successful one to date. “What he brought to the scene was incredible,” he said.