Fire destroyed Big Tex on Friday, leaving behind little more than the metal frame of the 52-foot-tall metal-and-fabric cowboy that is an icon of the State Fair of Texas.

Some fabric that made up the towering structure's hand and sleeves could still be seen as firefighters gathered around the scorched area.

The fire broke out shortly after 10 a.m. at the fairgrounds.

Big Tex's 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and slow drawl -- "Howdy, folks!" -- have been greeting fair visitors since 1952. This year's fair, which closes Sunday, had been celebrating Big Tex's 60th birthday.

"It's a great loss for us because of its icon stature," fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said.

Gooding said she didn't know the cause of the fire but did note electrical controls move Big Tex's mouth and head. A Dallas fire spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.

Gooding noted that no one was injured in the fire and added that she expects him to be back for next year's state fair.

"He'll be back, bigger and better than ever," she said.

The State Fair closes on Sunday.

Photos: Big Tex destroyed by fire

Published On: Oct 19 2012 12:04:55 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 19 2012 12:57:53 PM EDT

Big Tex, an iconic statue at the State Fair, was destroyed by fire.

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B.J. Bonnett