HAMILTON, Ohio -- The West Chester man who ran the Transportation Security Administration's popular Instagram account died of a sudden illness Friday.
Curtis Robert Burns, who went by "Blogger Bob," was 48, WCPO news partner the Journal-News reported.
Burns, originally from Hamilton, began working for the TSA in 2002 and took over blogging and Twitter for the agency in 2008. He began running the TSA Instagram in 2013 and drew many followers by showing some of the odd things discovered by TSA agents in luggage, like a 20-pound live lobster or a prop rotting corpse from the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," as well as by providing useful information for travelers and answering their questions.
The TSA Instagram account had more than 770,000 followers when WCPO profiled Burns last year. It has about 950,000 followers today.
"We don’t just get into something because everyone else is doing it, we look at things we can use and be successful with," Burns said last year about starting the TSA’s account. "It is really popular, a different demographic for the blog and a younger audience."
It is with heavy hearts that we confirm the passing of our friend and colleague Curtis “Blogger Bob” Burns. Bob was a dedicated husband and father, as well as being an icon in the social media world. We are saddened by Bob’s passing, and we send our prayers to his family during this difficult time.
Burns also achieved fame before his social media days. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, he toured across the country and in Europe as the singer of the band Big in Iowa, the Journal-News reported.
Friends and family members told the Journal-News that Burns' wit and personality made him a success and leader.
"Everyone says he made the TSA human," said Candy Creech, the sister of Burns' wife.
Burns is survived by daughters Hannah Ryleigh Burns and Heidi Rowan Burns; his mother, Brenda Burns Kurtz; and his father, Larry Burns.
In lieu of flowers, a GoFundMe page has been set up for his daughters’ trust.