The voice of Big Tex has died, State Fair of Texas officials announced on Monday.
Robert “Bob” Boykin was 73 years old when he died on Jan. 23.
Boykin had voiced Big Tex for the past seven years anonymously, but he was known for speaking with fairgoers on the grounds during breaks, fair officials said.
"One of his favorite parts of voicing Big Tex was being able to watch the crowds and see the look on a child’s face the first time they saw the 55-foot cowboy in person," a spokesperson for the fair said in a news release. "He also loved to see his beloved United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps march by Big Tex, making a special announcement when they did so."
He was a "true Texan," the spokesperson said. He had been born in Dallas and was raised in Richardson, staying in North Texas for most of his life.
Before becoming Big Tex, he worked at the Green Valley Raceway as an announcer to put himself through college. He joined the United States Marine Corps and went on to have a 40-year career at Lockheed Martin, helping to design the stealth bomber and F-16, according to the spokesperson.
But he had always dreamed of becoming Big Tex.
“People have bucket list items of things they want to do in their life. Bob never dreamed he would have the opportunity to voice Big Tex. But he was able to finish that item. He lived his dream,” Terri Boykin, his wife of more than 10 years, said in the release.
He was just the sixth person in the fair's history to be the voice behind the big man.
Boykin was buried on Jan. 29 in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, the spokesperson said, with honors.
"Thank you for bringing so much joy and life to our iconic cowboy, Bob," the release said. "We will miss you deeply."
This is a developing story and will be updated.