The internet-famous Lil Bub unexpectedly passed away in her sleep on Sunday morning, according to her owner.
The internet seems a little darker today, after Lil Bub’s “Dude,” Mike Bridavsky, officially announced that the adorable and instantly recognizable cat passed away at the age of 8.
Mike posted to Lil Bub’s Instagram on Monday to break the heartbreaking news to fans, calling Bub “the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet.”
Bub’s account is followed by 2.3 million people, and more than 126,000 had liked the farewell post in just one hour.
The farewell post featured Mike’s very first photo he took with Lil Bub, next to the last photo he took with his feline friend. It is dated “June 21, 2011 – December 1, 2019.”
Mike has “always been fully transparent about Bub’s health,” and it was known that the cat was fighting an aggressively persistent bone infection. Even still, Mike says that no one was expecting Bub to pass away so soon “without warning.”
Bub was also diagnosed with a bone condition shortly after turning one year old, which she has struggled with ever since. The disease, called osteopetrosis, causes her bones to grow denser as she grows older, making it difficult for her to move around. Bub is the only cat in recorded history born with the disease.
The celebrity cat had a number of genetic anomalies, such as an extreme case of dwarfism, polydactylism, a shortened jaw, and a lack of teeth. Even with her special needs, though, Bub was still able to do normal feline things like using cat litter or eating cat food on her own.
These “happy accidents,” as they are referred to on Bub’s official website, never limited her popularity. In fact, her unusual look, with her big eyes, short legs, and a tongue that was always hanging out, is what attracted the world to her. After owner Mike started posting about her on Tumblr, her popularity skyrocketed.
Over the years, Lil Bub accumulated 3 million Facebook page likes and 2.3 million Instagram followers. She was featured on calendars, shirts, and greeting cards. She had her own stuffed toy, a book, and a web series. She also appeared on national television shows.
Mike and Lil Bub used that popularity to help other pets. A portion of the proceeds from Bub’s merch and in-person appearances went to Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, which raises funds for homeless pets with special needs. Bub helped raise over $700,000 for animals in need and started the first national fund for special needs pets.
According to Mike, Bub was “cheerful and full of love” on Saturday night, laying with him and his wife, Stacy. Bub passed away peacefully the following morning.
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This is my first photo with BUB next our last photo together. On the morning of Sunday, December 1st 2019 we lost the purest, kindest and most magical living force on our planet. BUB was cheerful and full of love laying in our bed with us Saturday night, 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. Even knowing this, we weren’t expecting her to pass so soon or so abruptly without warning. I truly believe that she willingly made the decision to leave her failing body so that our family would not have to make that difficult decision ourselves. It is impossible to put into words the profound effect that BUB has had on my life, on the lives of thousands of homeless pets, and on the lives of those of you that have cared for her as if she were your own family. She taught me everything that I know about unconditional love, she brought my wife Stacy and I together, she’s the reason we have our beautiful children Rosco and Lula, and she has been a constant source of warmth and love in our lives for the past 8 years. To say that our family is devastated would be an understatement. But most importantly, BUB has made a huge difference in the world of animal welfare, and in the lives of millions of people worldwide. She has literally saved thousands of lives (both pets and humans), she started the first national fund for special needs pets, she was the subject of groundbreaking genetic and biological research, she’s helped raise over $700,000 for animals in need, and has spread a message of determination, positivity, and perseverance to people all over the world. And even though my heart is absolutely crushed by her graceful departure from planet Earth, I know that her sprit, magic, and overwhelming energy are still with us, reminding us every day to be better. 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. I am forever honored and humbled that you chose me as your caretaker. Please visit all of us in our dreams o