SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR/WROC) — Billy Fuccillo, the auto dealership owner whose television commercials and “huge” catchphrase made him a household name—has died after a long illness, his family attorney confirmed to NEWS10’s sister station in Syracuse.
The Fuccillo Auto Group operates more than two dozen car dealerships and more than a dozen automotive brands across New York and Florida. According to attorney Robert Scalione, Fuccillo died Thursday in Sarasota, Florida at the age of 65. He was best known for his energetic television appearances in the communities where he owns dealerships, but he’s also been honored for his philanthropy over the years.
Scalione said, “Billy was a giant in the auto industry. He also did a lot of good things for people, and felt good when he was able to change people’s lives.” He added that Fuccillo never wanted recognition for his generosity.
“It is with great sadness that we let you know of the passing of dealer member, Billy Fuccillo. Our thoughts and prayers are with his many friends everywhere and his family,” wrote Kim Perrella, Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Vice President.
Catherine James, the CEO of the Central New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, remembered Fuccillo for his generosity to her organization. James recalled a charity event where, in front of hundreds of people, Fuccillo asked her fundraising goal. She responded, “$50,000.” He offered to match it — and did.
Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has fond memories golfing with Fuccillo, but recalled Friday when Billy donated $10,000 to a group working to install a monument to fallen police officers in Downtown Syracuse.
According to TopInfoGuide, Fuccillo was born in Greenport on Long island in 1957. They say he graduated from Syracuse University in 1978 after receiving a full football scholarship and would go on to buy his first dealership near Watertown, New York in 1989. Fuccillo started his business in Upstate New York, expanded in the region and eventually opened several dealerships in Florida.
Unconfirmed reports of his death spread across social media Friday morning.
Billy is survived by his son, Billy Jr.
The attorney confirms funeral arrangements are being handled by Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home.