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FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2016, file photo, Ariana Phillips, 3, gives a hug to McGruff the Crime Dog, as Roanoke Police Academy recruit class 7237 watch in the background during National Night Out at Afton Garden Apartments in Roanoke, Va. John "Jack" Keil, the advertising executive who led the team that created McGruff the Crime Dog and who voiced the character has died. The family of Keil said he died Aug. 25, 2017, at home in Westminster West, Vt. He was 94. (Erica Yoon/The Roanoke Times via AP, File)

The man behind McGruff the Crime Dog has died

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The advertising executive and voice behind the character McGruff the Crime Dog has died.

John "Jack" Keil died on Aug. 25 at his home in Westminster West, Vermont, according to his family. Keil was 94.

Keil was an executive at an advertising agency when he and his team created the character in 1980 as a mascot for the National Crime Prevention Council.

"He was one of the giants in the advertising industry and shared his talents in support of crime prevention," the council said in an emailed statement to the Associated Press.

Since his creation, McGruff the Crime Dog has appeared in newspapers, and on the radio, television and the internet, encouraging Americans to get involved in crime prevention. Today, the character Keil created is still used for safety and crime prevention campaigns.

Beyond creating McGruff the Crime Dog, Keil worked on several other high-profile campaigns and wrote two books on creativity. He also enlisted in the Air Force during World War II and flew 50 missions over Europe.

Keil and his wife lived in New York for most of his career and moved to Vermont in 2006.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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