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Billy Fuccillo, ‘huge’ car dealer, is dead at 64

Legandary car dealer Billy Fuccillo died at his Florida home after declining health.
Fuccillo Kia is known for its commercials.
Fuccillo Kia is known for its commercials.
Published Jun. 18
Updated Jun. 18

The famous car dealer Billy Fuccillo had never neglected to use his legendary “It’s gonna be Huuuuuuggge” tagline on the radio, TV commercials or even on his car lots.

On Friday, June 18, Fuccillo died at his home in Sarasota after a long illness.

“It is with great sadness that we advise you of the passing of former member and friend, Billy Fuccillo,” wrote the Syracuse Auto Dealers Association in an email to its members.

Fuccillo was raised in Long Island, N.Y. After he graduated from Syracuse University on a football scholarship, he worked for Sam Dell and Bill Rapp as a used car salesman.

He later on opened Fuccillo Autobrokers, Inc., where he sold used cars. Then in 1989, Fuccillo opened his first-ever car dealership in Watertown, N.Y., a Mitsubishi franchise.

His ads were soon seen across central New York and Florida. He had more than 25 car dealerships in both states.

Fuccillo also had a charitable heart. In 2016, he surprised two women in Wesley Chapel with free cars. He regularly donated to charities such as the Harry Chapin Food Bank, the American Heart Association, and many others.

”I’m a guy that wants to donate in the communities that I do business in only,” he said in 2015.

In 2015, Fuccillo offered to help a USF student, Barbara Jimenez, return to her home in Florida after she was in a serious car crash in Cuba. Jimenez didn’t have insurance or the ability to come back home, so Fuccillo offered to fly her back on his private plane, said Preston Rudie, who at the time was director of communications for then-Congressman David Jolly.

“I will never forget . . . when he called me to make that offer to a girl who he did not know (and) to help somebody who is in desperate need. I think that spoke volumes about his character and who he was as an individual,” said Rudie, founder and CEO of Catalyst Communications Group.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.