HERMISTON - The spirited 10-year-old who became known as Bacon Boy has lost his battle with cancer.

Austin Winters was a warrior who lived life to the extreme and fought death "to the bitter end," said his father, Jay Winters.

Austin died Thursday, Sept. 18.

Jay Winters can't quite believe his high-energy son is gone.

"He was the first person up in the morning, the first person outside," Jay said. "He wasted no time."

Stricken with a relentless case of acute myelogenous leukemia, Austin invented his superhero last spring as he lay in the hospital. His imaginary crime fighter - Bacon Boy - shoots bacon bits from one hand and grease from the other to fend off the evil Fry Guy and his evil minions, Knife and Fork.

"Meat Vision" allowed Bacon Boy to propel sausages and corn dogs out of his eye sockets and he uses suction to upload various substances like water and grease.

Austin's spirit captured admirers across the state, as newspapers including the East Oregonian and the Blue Mountain Eagle featured him in news stories.

Austin's imagination zoomed into overdrive after painter Frank Etxaniz began visiting the 10-year-old as part of the Children's Healing Art Project at Doernbecher Children's Hospital where Austin recuperated from a bone marrow transplant from his older brother, Chase.

This summer, Tacoma's Museum of Glass chose one of Austin's drawings to transform into a glass sculpture for a permanent collection of kids' art at the museum.

Austin's brave fight touched plenty of people in the community and beyond, said his father. His son received encouraging cards and letters from people all over. After Austin and Etxaniz launched a line of Bacon Boy T-shirts, orders flowed in from around the country.

A funeral was not yet set, but plans call for an 8-foot floral bacon boy to be part of the decorations. Etxaniz is hauling a carload of fresh flowers to Hermiston for the occasion.

Those who knew young Austin agree that not all superheroes have superhuman strength, streak through the sky or shoot lightning bolts from their fingertips. Some merely face tough circumstances with an unquenchable spirit.­

Austin's parents, Jay and Lisa, would be the first to agree.

"He was my hero," said his dad.

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