A man who dressed as Batman and drove a custom-built Lamborghini designed to look like a real-life Batmobile to brighten the lives of sick children has died.
Lenny B. Robinson, 51, was struck and killed by a car Sunday night near Hagerstown, Maryland, after his Batmobile broken down, the Washington Post reports.
Robinson had just left a gas station at about 10:30 p.m. when the car broke down in the fast lane of Interstate 70. While he was checking the engine, a Toyota Camry struck the Batmobile, sending the car into Robinson, the Post reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Robinson Became Famous After He Was Pulled Over in the Batmobile in 2012
Robinson’s heroics gained national attention in 2012 after he was stopped by police in Montgomery County, Maryland, while driving the Batmobile and dressed in the costume.
The dashcam video went viral, with millions of views worldwide. He was stopped because he had a Batman logo instead of license plates. The actual plates were in the car and he was not ticketed.
His story of kindness and charity spread quickly across the country. He dedicated the past several years of his life to helping make sick children happy, through thousands of hospital visits and time spent at superhero parties. After the video went viral and he became more well known, Robinson said he went from the occasional hospital visit to one a day.
Robinson later bought an actual Batmobile. It’s not clear if that was the car he was driving at the time of the accident.
2. He Decided to Give Back After Selling His Successful Cleaning Business
According to the Washington Post, Robinson made his money in the cleaning business and decided to give back by becoming Batman.
He started the commercial cleaning business when he was a teenager, and sold it not long before his story became known worldwide. He became the president of Superheroes for Kids, Inc.
Watch a video above that was recently produced by Hope for Henry, a charity that Robinson often worked with, showing his visit with a child at Georgetown University Hospital.
The charity mourned the loss of Robinson on its Facebook page:
Lenny B. Robinson was such a good friend to Hope for Henry. We lit up the Bat Signal whenever we had an event at a local hospital and Lenny would jump in the Batmobile and respond immediately. He joined us for our most recent Superhero Celebration at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital where he helped tell the story of Hope for Henry and its work improving the quality of life for children fighting serious illness. We will always love Lenny and our hearts go out to his family and all who mourn his death.
3. The Crash Remains Under Investigation & No Charges Have Been Filed
Police are still investigating the crash that killed Robinson and said no charges have been filed against the driver of the Toyota Camry that struck the Batmobile. The driver of the Toyota has not been identified.
According to WCHS-TV, Robinson had been at an event in South Charleston, West Virginia, over the weekend. The news station had posted a photo of Robinson posing with children at a gas station on August 14, which Robinson shared on his own Facebook page.
4. He Spent Thousands of Dollars Each Year Giving Out Toys & Visiting Children
Robinson spent thousands of dollars to travel to hospitals in the Maryland area to visit sick children, giving them toys and Batman memorabilia, according to the Washington Post. He was a one-man operation when he started, but often joined other superheroes at parties for kids at hospitals and other fundraisers.
Robinson told ABC News in 2012 that becoming Batman helped him become a better person.
“You wouldn’t have liked me,” he told ABC News. “I consider myself back then a little on the obnoxious side.”
5. He Was Inspired to Dress as Batman & Help Sick Kids by His Son
Robinson spent years giving back to children, and had three of his own, who are now adults. He said he was inspired to become Batman by his son, Brandon, according to his website.
Brandon would sometimes dress as Robin during the visits to hospitals, the Washington Post says.