TODAY   |  June 10, 2013

Massive floating rubber duck headed to U.S.

After winning hearts in Hong Kong, a 54-foot-tall rubber duck was given an emotional sendoff, deflated in the dead of night and removed from a Hong Kong harbor. The duck will make its American debut in Pittsburgh in late September. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a massive rubber duck that popped up in cities around the world. it's about to make it's way statewide. ian is in hong kong to explain.

>>> good morning. hong kong woke up this morning to find a good friend missing from the harbor here. it was big, yellow and made of rubber and it had won the hearts of this city and yes, soon it will be heading to america.

>> reporter: it was an emotional send off for a duck. a 54 foot tall inflatable rubber duck that created a frenzy here. on it's last day alone 100,000 people came for a final look.

>> it's very cute. very cute and it's -- well, it reminds of childhood.

>> reporter: the duck arrived in early may and greeted by a band. part of a world tour that will take it to pittsburgh in late september .

>> what's the most important message that you're sending with this art work.

>> joy. it brings joy and it connects us all, you know.

>> reporter: it triggered duck mania.

>> there's a whole family of them.

>> reporter: there are ducks everywhere. rubber duck hotel packages offer breathtaking duck views. restaurants even offer special menus. it seems like all of hong kong wants a piece of the duck.

>> the duck is my toy in the bathroom.

>> reporter: but not just hong kong . it's spawned copy catucks in cities and towns across mainland china and other variations on the theme. this exhibition in another hong kong park .

>> but these guys are not nearly as cute.

>> reporter: hong kong always had a soft spot for cute celebrities but it's hard to say whether it will make a splash in the u.s.

>> i got e-mails around pittsburgh and new york and people say they will travel for it. so i don't know.

>> reporter: then he sailed off into the night past his bobbing creation knowing that hong kong will be a hard act to follow . i have to tell you guys that moving the duck from here took a great deal of sensitivity. they waited until people had gone home until the dead of night before they deflated the duck. that was in order to minimize any emotional distress .

>>> ian, that duck doesn't really blend. you do have to do it at night.

>> imagine if you squeeze it.

>> i can't wait until it gets here.