Skip Fletcher, patriarch of the famous Fletcher's Corny Dogs at the State Fair of Texas, has died, a spokeswoman for the fair confirms.
Fletcher died Tuesday morning after a battle with pneumonia.
This year's state fair would have been Fletcher's 75th anniversary at the fair.
"Sadness went through my head," said Karissa Condoianis, vice president of public relations for the State Fair of Texas. "You know, Skip was happy. He always had a smile on his face and a hug for you."
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In 1942 an 8-year-old Skip Fletcher began learning from his father, Neil, how to perfect the recipe.
"He showed me how to cook corny dogs, and he'd watch me, and I'd get it right without screwing it up," Fletcher told NBC 5 in a 2015 interview.
When the first Fletcher's stand opened at the State Fair of Texas, Fletcher said people looked at it and said, "What is that thing?"
Fair-goers didn't know what they were selling.
"People at the fair didn't know anything about – 'what is a corny dog?'" he recalled.
That first stand would become six and eventually a multimillion-dollar family business.
"It just kept growing year after year after year. And these things are just so darn good to eat, and they just keep coming back," Fletcher said.
"His place in this event made him like a rock star in my book," said Carey Risinger, vice president of concessions at the State Fair of Texas. "Skip Fletcher is one of my heroes. He really is."
The corny dog recipe hasn't changed much, though in recent years Fletcher's began offering a vegetarian-friendly option, too.
During the fair's 24-day run, Fletcher's employees sell more than 600,000 corny dogs.
"We are a Texas tradition. We're right up there, and proud to be," said his wife, Gigi Fletcher, in the 2015 interview. "It's more about that joy in connecting with other families and connecting with the state of Texas."
Many fair-goers say it's a tradition to visit the state fair every year just to eat a Fletcher's corny dog.
"Believe it or not, all these faces, I've seen these faces before. They've grown up – from little bitty to there, to there with their kids – about three or four generations," Skip Fletcher said.
"If you say you lived for something," Risinger said, "that's what Skip lived for: the fair."
Funeral plans have not been announced.