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'Doug died': Worldwide attention from Fargo man's two-word obit helped lighten family's loss

"Doug Died," the two words Doug Legler penned for his obituary in the July 1 issue of The Forum, wouldn't even fill a tweet.

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Doug Legler

FARGO – "Doug Died," the two words Doug Legler penned for his obituary in the July 1 issue of The Forum, wouldn't even fill a tweet. And yet, that obituary flew around the Internet last week, landing in such far-flung places as Gawker, The Huffington Post, USA Today, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Norway's Dagbladet and the UK's Daily Mail. As of this writing, The Forum's article about the obituary has been viewed nearly 70,000 times and seen by about 86,000 people on Facebook. Add in the dozens of media outlets that posted something about the obituary, and it's likely that well over a million people saw it. For Legler's daughters, who are still in the midst of settling their father's affairs, the attention from all this media has put a pleasant twist on the sadness of his death.

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Doug Legler

"It makes it a little easier," said Janet Stoll, Legler's daughter. "My dad loved to laugh and make other people laugh. "We never, ever imagined it would become what it did," she said. "For a man who never had a computer, you can't help but smile, I guess." And smile people did. Stoll said she saw one or two people who "didn't find it funny," but the vast majority of comments made on The Forum's Facebook post about Legler's brief farewell brought people a laugh and, in some cases, a little inspiration for their own irreverent farewells. As comments and news kept popping up on her phone, Legler's daughter Pauline Holmlund said she was cheering on her father. "I would say, 'You go dad.' He never thought he would ever be successful, and who would have thought he would become famous worldwide?" Holmlund said. So, what would Doug have thought of all of this fuss? Even though his family honored his wishes, Holmlund said, she's fairly certain her dad wouldn't have liked all this attention. Stoll agreed, but said he would have enjoyed giving so many people a laugh. It fits in well with the memory of him her entire family will carry on. "We all find a little comfort in knowing that he made the world smile," Stoll said.

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