Updated 06:27 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 24, 2014

Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos Innovator Dies, Leaving Behind Extraordinary Legacy

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Doritos Locos Tacos
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Even great men pass into the great unknown. Death is inescapable, even to the most innovative, creative and ambitious minds of our generation. Today we celebrate the late Todd Mills, the man who created Taco Bell’s Doritos Loco Taco.

This is not a mockery. This is an honest tribute to Mills. His idea was so simple and seemingly ridiculous that anyone else would have given up upon the first obstacle. Be he remained diligent. He knew what he wanted, and he knew what the American consumer wanted.

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He came up with the concept for the taco shells made from Doritos while preparing one of his favorite taco salad recipes. He pitched the idea to Frito-Lay, but they cordially rejected his offer with a “thanks, but no thanks,” according to his wife Ginger. When most people would laugh off the idea and move on, Mills pushed forward, eager to make his idea a reality. He took his “Taco Shells from Doritos Movement” to Facebook, where he received encouraging support.

Taco Bell reached out to Mills in 2012, not to use his idea, but to help collaborate on their latest food experiment, the Doritos Loco Tacos, which Frito-Lay pitched to Taco Bell as their own idea. The product took off and became one of the best selling fast food snacks of all time. Any person would be eager to get their greedy paws on as much compensation as possible, but Mills took the high road. He let it slide, happy just to have his dream in the palm of his hand, and then in the pit of his stomach.

“Todd being Todd, he never asked for anything,” a friend told USA Today. “He said, ‘I just want my tacos.’”

Mills passed away from brain cancer at the age of 41 on Thanksgiving. He left behind a wife a two daughters. In an act of remembrance, his family asks his fans to post photos of themselves enjoying the Doritos Loco Tacos on Facebook in his honor. Taco Bell also released a statement saying, "We know this is a tragic time for Todd's family.  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."

Next time you bite into a savory Doritos Loco Taco, give thanks to Todd Mills, one of the most humble, innovative and passionate men to ever grace our planet. And if you’ve been timid to try to outrageous treat in the past, now is the time to indulge to honor the late Todd Mills.

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