DENVER (KDVR) — The “King of Beers” has lost its prince.
John Bird, better known as the “Budman,” or John “Birdweiser,” has passed away at the age of 77.
FOX31 first introduced viewers to John Bird 12 years ago when he took us on a tour of his unique apartment, lovingly known as Bud Central.
Bird’s entire home was covered from wall to floor in beer cans and Budweiser décor, which continued to expand over the years.
“He loved drinking Budweiser,” his long time friend, Derek Kurczynski, said.
Budweiser representatives in St. Louis, Missouri, visited Bird in his home and even contributed over the years to his beer palace.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s just amazing what he devoted himself into doing here and to Budweiser,” said Jerree Chetleat, another one of Bird’s friends.
“Photos and videos really don’t do it justice until you see it in person,” Kurczynski said.
Bird died after a short hospital stay where he was diagnosed with metabolic encephalopathy.
Bud Light ‘like kissing your own sister’
Kurczynski said he considered Bird his Colorado father.
“He meant a lot to me, and it was very hard, very unexpected, to lose him. He took care of me,” he said.
Kurczynski met the Budman when the two worked as ramp agents at Denver International Airport.
Now, he and many others are toasting their friend of more than 20 years, not for the Budweiser palace he built inside his home, but for the man he was.
They say John Bird had a sense of humor and a zest for life, and he was a man who knew what he liked.
“He was offered a Bud Light from time to time, and he said that was like kissing your own sister,” Kurczynski said.
When FOX31 caught up with Bird in 2009, he was busy cleaning his cans in his dishwasher, one of the many “set in suds” habits John lived by to make sure his apartment didn’t stink from his beer collection.
“You do not crush a Budweiser can or spill Budweiser. If you do, you’re out of here. That’s alcohol abuse,” Bird explained, discussing his house rules for visitors.
A sign depicting those rules still hovers over Bird’s Budweiser Kingdom, but the man himself is now gone.
John Birdweiser’s beer counter is forever stuck on 50,285 cold ones consumed in his apartment, a testament to the unique home he built.
His friends say he may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten.
“He was a dear friend, a dear friend to a lot of people,” Kurczynski said.