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Todd Mills, man behind the Doritos Locos Tacos idea, dies

Lung Cancer

Ever wonder where the idea for the Doritos Locos Tacos came from? Seems like a no-brainer to eat taco filling sandwiched between the two powdery orange ends of a nacho cheese Dorito shell, but one man made it his passion to make the shells a reality.   

[Update, 4:30p.m. Dec. 4: Taco Bell released the following statement: “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.”]

Todd Mills, the man behind the Facebook group "Taco Shells from Doritos Movement," died on Thanksgiving at the age of 41 after a battle with brain cancer. 

According to Mills' wife, Ginger, the taco shell idea started with Mills using Doritos to make taco salads. In 2009 he pitched the idea to Frito-Lay, but the shells were rejected. He then took the cause to Facebook. 

The page features photoshopped images of Doritos tacos shells and a variety of celebrities, cartoons, ads and more. Images include one of Gordon Ramsay holding two Doritos taco shells, actor Keanu Reeves contemplating a Doritos taco shell on a bench and a framed painting of a Doritos taco shell hanging next to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. 

Mills finally received a phone call from Taco Bell in 2012. The company flew Todd out to its test kitchen in California to be one of the first people to try its new Doritos Locos Tacos. 

Taco Bell went on to sell more than $1-billion worth of the tacos, but Mills did not receive any sort of compensation. Taco Bell did, however, contribute $1,000 to help pay for Mills' medical bills after a friend reached out to the company via Twitter. 

Someone identifying themselves as the co-administrator on Mills' Facebook page wrote in a status update on Sept. 28 that Mills was battling Stage 4 brain and lung cancer and had undergone brain surgery and had had a portion of his right lung removed. 

After Mills' funeral on Dec. 2, friends went to Taco Bell to eat his favorite tacos. 

Want more quirky food news? Follow me on Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_

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