If you've ever been to the Dallas area during the State Fair of Texas, you no doubt have encountered Big Tex.
He's impossible to miss. He wears size 70 boots and a 75-gallon hat. His height comes in at a stunning 52 feet. He's an icon, his western shirt dusted off every year since 1952.
Today, there is stunning news out of Texas: Big Tex is gone. He's dead. He's been extinguished by a massive blaze.
Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said the fire began inside Big Tex and that there is electrical wiring inside him.
Perhaps WFAA reporter Rebecca Lopez put it best on Twitter: "Big Tex most likely died of natural causes according to DPD source. Mechanical problem not a homicide. #RIPBigTex"
"It's a very sad day for all fair-goers," Gooding told the station according to The Dallas Morning News. "It's a sad way to end the fair."
She said they had lost Big Tex's "clothes, his hat and head."
One fairgoer told the station that the flames "dropped down and hit his pants, and once they hit his pants, he just went up in flames."
Our friends at NPR member station KERA says all that's left of the big man are "his hands and skeletal frame."
All of this reminds us of George Strait's ode to a timeless love, A Fire I Can't Put Out.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.