Lil Bub, the goofy-faced kitty who took the internet by storm, died Sunday. She was 8.
On Monday, Mike Bridavsky announced the death of his beloved pet on social media.
"On the morning of Sunday, December 1st 2019 we lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet," he wrote.
Lil Bub began her rise to viral fame in 2011, when Bridavsky first posted her photo on Tumblr.
She quickly became one of the decade's most famous cats, accruing more than 2 million Instagram followers.
Lil Bub's unique appearance — bulging eyes, tiny arms and legs, and a tongue forever sticking out — was the result of several genetic deformities, “which all add up to one of nature's happiest accidents,” according to her website.
In 2015, scientists crowdfunded a campaign to sequence Lil Bub's genome, through which they made discoveries that explained the cat's genetic mutations.
Lil Bub had medical issues throughout her life, starting with her birth as the runt of the litter. At just 1 year old, she was diagnosed with osteopetrosis and became the first cat diagnosed with the bone disease.
Despite her health issues, the cat's death was unexpected, Bridavsky said. Just the day before, she had been "cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us but unexpectedly passed away peacefully in her sleep,"
"I have always been fully transparent about BUB's health, and it was no secret that she was battling a persistent and aggressive bone infection," Bridavsky said. "Even knowing this, we weren't expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning."
Lil Bub had been the subject of several fundraising campaigns for pets with special needs, which raised over $700,000 in her lifetime, Bridavsky said.
"Dearest BUB, I will never forget your generosity, your limitless supply of love, or your uncanny ability to bring so much magic and joy to the world," Bridavsky said. "I am forever honored and humbled that you chose me as your caretaker."
Tributes poured in for Lil Bub, with many people thanking her for bringing them joy over the years.
The account for Grumpy Cat — a similarly famous internet cat who died earlier this year — posted a photo of the two cats together.
"Friends forever," it was captioned.