DOGGIE HEAVEN (Oct. 29, 2015) Tillman, the endearing English bulldog who skateboarded, sledded and surfed on floats in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade,
has died of natural causes. Owner Ron Davis announced the news on Tillman's Facebook page
"I'm sorry to announce the world lost a true legend," the post reads. "My best bud Tillman passed away last night, of natural causes.
We spent 10 years making so many incredible memories skating, surfing and hanging out together. No words can truly describe how much he'll be
missed. Thanks for all the good times, Tilly."
According to the dog's publicity bio, Tillman was named after Pat Tillman, the former NFL football player and U.S. Army Ranger. The bulldog learned to skateboard by
watching a skateboarding rottweiler, also owned by Davis.
Tillman made a big media splash during his appearances at the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, entertaining fans on gigantic floats sponsored by Dick
Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods and constructed by Fiesta Parade Floats.
In the 2009 Rose Parade, Tillman and friends skateboarded around a track on the first float entry from Natural Balance, titled "Natural Entertainers." The
strong crowd response and broad media attention emboldened the sponsor to do something even bigger and better the next year.
The 2010 entry was titled "Hot Doggin'" and featured Tillman and friends snowboarding down a 114-foot float which earned recognition from Guiness as the "World's Longest Float." There was broad interest
about what would happen when the long float tried to turn the sharp corner in the television zone along the parade route. (The float made the corner without incident.)
Tillman then continued his string of success with appearances on two water-themed entries. The 2011 float, titled "Havin' a Splash," featured Tillman and friends skimboarding
along the front of the float while other dogs jumped into a heated pool. The float won the Tournament's Special Trophy for exceptional merit and
earned Guiness recognition as the "World's Heaviest Float." In 2012, the dogs surfed on two-foot high waves generated by a wave machine built into the float titled "Surf's Up."
It won the Tournament's Extraordinaire Trophy for most spectacular entry.