Man Who Conceptualized Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos Dies on Thanksgiving: Update

doritos_loco_taco.jpg
Photo by Gustavo Arellano
Not a bad legacy

UPDATE DEC. 4 4:27 P.M.: Check the end of the post for Taco Bell's official statement re: Todd Mills and the invention of the Doritos Locos Taco.

ORIGINAL POST DEC. 4 6:30 A.M.:

Todd Mills, the Arkansas man who helped create the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos, passed away on Thanksgiving from brain cancer. He was 41. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and every single person who has ever eaten a Locos Taco.

As massive as the tacos have been (Taco Bell sold over $1 billion worth alone last year), Mills would have lived a very full life even without the tacos.

USA Today has the definitive obit, and you should read it, but here's a tl;dr and a few Mills Life Moments that didn't make the USA Today cut:

* Mills didn't receive much from his idea's success. Frito Lay flew him out to California to tour their factory and he was one of the first to try the taco, but that about ends it for compensation.

* Mills' creative genius (which he used during his day job as VP of communications at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce) helped to realize the taco idea. He photoshopped pictures of celebrities with Doritos taco shells to build buzz.

* Mills is a veteran, having served in the Air Force. He was part of Pres. Bill Clinton's personal escort when the president was in Arkansas and worked with his dog Henry as part of rescue at the 1996 Summer Olympics Bombing in Atlanta.

Mills' family is accepting donations to help cover funeral and medical bills here. Taco Bell's donated $1,000, but maybe they can find some extra taco money lying around to give a little more.

UPDATE DEC. 4 4:27 P.M.:
"We know this is a tragic time for Todd's family," said Taco Bell Representative Jenna Rathke. "He was a huge Taco Bell fan. He was passionate about the Doritos Locos Taco, and although he did not invent it, he founded a Facebook page to drum up support. In light of his passion, we invited him to be one of the first to try it. He became a true friend of the brand, so when we learned of his ill health, we made a $1,000 donation towards his medical expenses. We will miss Todd very much and our hearts are with his family and friends in this difficult time."


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21 comments
Robert Ayala
Robert Ayala

His idea makes them $1 billion and that's all they can cough up!?!? Everyone should boycott til they pony up some cash to cover at least all of the expenses... some fking gratitude! Besides, Taco Bells parent Yum Brands is owned by Tricon Restaurant Group which iis a spinoff of PepsiCo's previous fast food division (KFC, Pizza Hut, WingStreet etc) -- They're HUGE! you'd think they could a lot more than a $1000 after making billions on this idea....what a disgrace. I hadn't been to any Taco Bell since they stopped using olives. If I want true Mexican flair I head down to Julian's in Hawaiian Gdns. Taco Bell's the place to go if you want processed crap. Mickey -- that's East-Coast style of eating pizza ;-)

Steve Mares
Steve Mares

See, this is what happens when you eat Caca Bell!

Jodi Bernal
Jodi Bernal

Taco Bell should be so ashemed of a chump change donation of $1K at least $10 K is a penny for each of the Doritos Tacos they sold in the past year!!!

arredondoxmas00
arredondoxmas00

1 more reason not to visit Taco Bell, Del Taco is better anyways.


Varjo Kriegshammer
Varjo Kriegshammer

Those tacos aren't very good. I think it was more of a hype thing than anything.

Paul Tashner
Paul Tashner

Taco Bell should provide a revenue royalty of 1/2% per year for 5 years to his family!

Audrey Evans
Audrey Evans

ya and they only donated 1k to his cancer fund...what an awesome co.

David Quesada
David Quesada

I conceptualized and helped with the entire mfg process of MERET EMT/Paramedic bags. They started an entire company around my ideas and help and I did not get anything for it.

Mickey McCloud
Mickey McCloud

I invented a new way to eat pizza. You roll it up, and it taco style.

Logan Mora
Logan Mora

Big deal. I invented the double decker taco and never received a dime.

Rocky Neidhardt
Rocky Neidhardt

It wasnt even him that invented it. Gina Galvan created that for Taco Bell years ago..

Jessica Ancira
Jessica Ancira

hey taco bell is making milions off the idea i think they could donate a little more than $1k

Jason W Buckley
Jason W Buckley

Was he selling the idea? Does the person who invented peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut a percentage of all the products sold to make the sandwich?

Kevin Eric
Kevin Eric

Wait, what did he deserve? That taco is sh!t and terrible for u...it's not like he cured cancer. RIP

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