Todd Mills, the man who helped inspire the Doritos Locos Tacos, died of brain cancer on Thanksgiving at the age of 41. Despite creating one of the best-selling fast food items of all time, Mills never made a dime from it.
Mills' wife, Ginger, said that her husband came up with the idea of making taco shells from Doritos while creating his adored taco salad. He pitched the idea to Frito-Lay in 2009, which they politely rejected with a "Thanks, but no thanks." Mills refused to let the dream die, creating the "Taco Shells from Doritos Movement" Facebook page. His persistence paid off when Taco Bell left a comment on one of the images he posted.
Then, in 2012, he received a phone call from Taco Bell out of the blue asking him to fly to California to test out their latest creation: the Doritos Locos Tacos. Despite being pushed to seek compensation from the company, Mills never asked for anything. In a statement, Taco Bell called him a "true friend" of the company:
We are honored to have had his support through the Doritos for Taco Shells Movement on Facebook, and we admire his strength and optimism during his recent battle. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Todd's family during this time.
Mills is survived by his two daughters: Tyler, 19, and Lainey, six.