Merrill passed away suddenly on February 12, 2015 without a cause of death, prompting his family and friends to get a little creative with the obituary supplied to The Ledger:
Stephen Merrill, 31, passes away February 12, 2015, due to a uppercut from Batman.
He was born January 28, 1984, the son of Larry Ronald Merrill and Bridgett I. Dotson Merrill. He was in retail sales at The Big Shop in Legoland, Florida.
While The Ledger doesn't normally publish fictionalized obituaries, they made an exception when a friend of Merrill's called the newspaper and explained how much it would mean to the family to have the obituary published with the Batman bit included.
That wasn't the only comic book reference his family included in his celebration of life. From ABC:
His friends and family all wore superhero shirts to honor Merrill's love for comics. The celebration also included a Captain America's shield made from flowers and a quote on the program from one of his favorite movies, 'The Avengers.'
In addition to his parents, Stephen is survived by his fiancée, Stephanie Vella; son, Noah; and sister, Kimberly.
Batman could not be reached for comment.