Austin Winters, the 10-year-old creator of the Bacon Boy cartoon has lost his fight with leukemia.
Winters, of Hermiston in Eastern Oregon, created his bacon strip-shaped superhero after the painter Frank Etxaniz began visiting Portland's Doernbecher Children's Hospital as part of the Children's Healing Art Project, a non-profit that has reached as many as 10,000 hospitalized kids.
The artist challenged Austin to dream up a character to draw. Austin developed Bacon Boy, a crime fighter who shoots bacon bits from one hand and grease from other.
Austin explained his raw bacon character's unique superpowers during an interview earlier in the summer.
"He shoots bacon bits out of one hand and grease out of the other -- and he has meat vision," Winters said.
Austin created Bacon Boy along with Fry Guy, an arch-enemy who restores his strength from a fight by getting cleaned inside a dishwasher.
Austin said creating Bacon Boy was easy, since he had a love of meat. His parents said something changed when Austin was tasked with an art project: his eyes brightened and creativity started flowing despite pain from chemotherapy.
Austin's courageous battle against leukemia can be seen in his art, which depicts stories filled with courageous battles.
Etxaniz secretly entered Bacon Boy into a contest, and the Tacoma Museum of Glass chose to make a glass version of the superhero for a permanent collection of kids' art.
"There's something about his honesty and his sense of humor and his ability to make art even in difficult times," said Etxaniz, who ultimately mentored Austin in his artistic pursuits.
When word of Bacon Boy spread, the two launched a line of T-shirts, patches and hats. Orders arrived from throughout the country.
The artist drove to Hermiston early last week for a last chat with Austin. He said the two talked of a heaven with sunny skies, open roads and no speed limits, and he will never forget the look on the boy's face.