The Cabot man whose online push to create a Taco Bell shell out of Doritos preceded the chain's launch of the hugely successful product has died.
Todd Mills, 41, died Thanksgiving morning after a battle with brain and lung cancer, according to information posted on the Taco Shells made from Doritos Movement Facebook page, which Mills created.
"Todd never asked for anything from Taco Bell for his idea," the message reads. "He was just a guy that wanted tasty Doritos tacos."
An obituary in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette earlier this week called Mills the inventor of the popular taco and noted how "Frito Lay flew him to California where he toured the Dorito Plant."
Mills talked about that experience in an interview with ArkansasOnline earlier this year in advance of the second generation of Doritos Loco Tacos, a Cool Ranch flavor that he wasn't as excited about.
"It doesn't make sense to me really," he said in the March 6 story. "You think nacho cheese. That's something you'd think of with a taco. I don't know if anybody dips their tacos in cool ranch."
Mills, who worked as the vice president of media and information technology for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, started the Facebook page in 2009, drawing several thousand followers as he added photoshopped images of tacos with Doritos shells in various humorous settings.
Mills recalled in March how he wrote a "tongue-in-cheek" letter to Frito Lay to propose the Doritos taco and was ultimately rewarded with a trip to California in 2012 to be among the first to try the creation in a Taco Bell test kitchen. The result was as good as he hoped: An image of his first bite was posted on the Facebook page with the caption "AWESOME!"
Mills' death made headlines around the world after USA Today posted a story about it Tuesday night.
That story quoted a statement from Taco Bell that called Mills a "true friend."