Another celebrity gone: Gidget the Chihuahua from Taco Bell dies

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The flags should be at half-staff today at Taco Bell restaurants around the world.

Gidget the Chihuahua, star of 1990's Taco Bell commercials featuring her saying, "Yo quiero Taco Bell,"
died after a massive stroke late Tuesday night at her trainer's home in Santa Clarita, Calif. She was 15 (the dog, not the trainer).

While there's no word if the dog died from eating a fat-filled, high calorie and sodium-filled Taco Bell chalupa, the Associated Press reported that Gidget was in good health except for bad hearing.

On the day of her death she was eating well and playing with her favorite squeaky toys at the home of trainer Sue Chipperton, said Karin McElhatton, owner of Studio Animal Services, which owned the dog.

"She was retired. She lived like a queen, very pampered," McElhatton told AP.

The bug-eyed, big-eared star of the fast-food chain's commercials more than decade ago, Gidget was versatile enough to portray a male dog in a 1997 Taco Bell TV ad. With special effects and the voice of actor Carlos Alazraqui, the dog famously said in a richly accented voice: "Yo quiero Taco Bell" -- Spanish for "I want Taco Bell."

She traveled first-class, opened the New York Stock Exchange and appeared at Madison Square Garden. She continued her commercial work in 2002 for the insurance company GEICO and appeared in the 2003 movie "Legally Blond 2: Red, White & Blonde."

Gidget will be cremated, although the final disposition of her remains hasn't been decided yet.

Taco Bell Corp. said in a statement that Gidget will be missed by many. "Our deepest sympathies go out to her owners and fans," it said.

Eating at Taco Bell will never be the same.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at www.AaronCrowe.net
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