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The Internet Pays Tribute to Kevin ConroyDaniel Boczarski – Getty Images

Kevin Conroy, the voice actor who played Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Animated Series and a wide range of other animated media, passed away at the age of 66 this week. The Empire State Building, one of the most iconic landmarks of New York City on which DC’s fictitious Gotham is based, was lit up with a Bat Signal this week to honor Conroy, and his death prompted many of his fans to reflect on his legacy, with some describing having grown up with his voice as a constant presence in their lives, and others calling him the definitive Batman of their generation.

Actor Mark Hamill, who voiced the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, said that he was “stunned by the loss of this brilliant actor,” adding: “I loved him like a brother.”

Earlier this year, Conroy authored a story entitled Finding Batman for the DC Pride anthology, in which he recounted his own experiences of having a “secret identity” as a gay man, and how losing friends and loved ones during the AIDS crisis shaped his performance as Batman.

“I often marveled at how appropriate it was that I should land this role,” he wrote. “As a gay boy growing up in the 1950s and ’60s in a devoutly Catholic family, I’d grown adept at concealing parts of myself. Of putting aspects of myself in a separate box and locking it away… Better to wear a mask, I thought.” After Conroy’s death, DC Comics made Finding Batman free to read online.

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