Gotham is without its hero tonight.
Lenny B. Robinson, 51, better known as “Route 29 Batman,” was killed on Sunday in Hagerstown, Maryland, after being struck by oncoming traffic, the Hagerstown State Police Department confirms to ET.
Robinson’s custom Batmobile was experiencing engine trouble when he pulled over, still “partially in the fast lane,” we are told. Police report he was standing in the fast lane when another vehicle struck the Batmobile, and Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Robinson came to national attention in 2012 when he was pulled over for an issue with the license plates on his black Lamborghini -- the issue being that the plates just had the bat symbol on them. When Robinson stepped out of the vehicle for officers, he was dressed head to toe in a Batman costume, cowl and all.
Turns out, Robinson had been dressing as the Caped Crusader to make weekly visits to sick kids in hospitals since 2001.
The Washington Post was the first to unmask Robinson, revealing that he was a self-made businessman who had devoted his life to playing Batman for children battling cancer and other diseases -- sometimes with his son, dressed as Robin, at his side.
Robinson would pose for pictures with families and encourage kids to keep fighting, but he also went a step above and would drop some $25,000 per year on Batman swag to hand out to children. But first, he would sign everything from “Batman.”
Eventually, Robinson traded in his Lamborghini for a custom-made Batmobile and started a company called Superheroes for Kids, which, their website explains, taught kids that “just as Batman fights battles, no matter how hard or long their health battles may be, with strength of will and determination, there is always hope!”
Robinson told The Post that playing Batman for so long had rubbed off on him. “It feels like I have a responsibility that’s beyond a normal person,” he said. “And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can.”
If there’s any comfort to be found in this story, it’s that just before he was killed, Robinson got to make one more kids wish come true: The Post reports that earlier that night he had stopped at a gas station “where he met a family whose children were interested in his custom-made car.” Of course, he also gave them some paraphernalia to remember their run-in with the real-life Batman.
In other Batman news, the cast of Batman Forever looks back 20 years later: