Grumpy Cat, grouchy-faced furball that launched a thousand memes, is dead

Grumpy Cat, Tabatha Bundesen
In this Nov. 14, 2016 photo, Grumpy Cat poses for photos with her owner Tabatha Bundesen in New York. The social media star posted her Top 10 pet peeves on her new blog at Pawculture.com. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (AP)
Grumpy Cat, Tabatha Bundesen
FILE – In this Nov. 14, 2016, file photo, Grumpy Cat poses for photos with her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (AP/Richard Drew)
Grumpy Cat
In this Nov. 14, 2016 photo, Grumpy Cat poses for photos in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (AP)
Grumpy Cat
FILE – This Dec. 1, 2015 file photo shows Grumpy Cat posing for a photo in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File) (AP)
Grumpy Cat
This Dec. 1, 2015 photo shows Grumpy Cat posing for a photo during an interview at the Associated Press in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel) (AP)
Cat (AP)
Grumpy Cat being grumpy. (AP Photo/Lifetime) (AP Photo/Lifetime)
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IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR FRISKIES – Friskies® “official spokescat,” Grumpy Cat, comes face-to-face with the first-ever Grump-O-Lantern to kick off a Halloween promotion with PetSmart. (Rick Scuteri/AP Images for Friskies) (AP Images for Friskies)
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Grumpy Cat arrives at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards, on Sunday, April 13, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for MTV/AP Images) (John Shearer/Invision/AP)
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Maybe a monocle would help Grumpy Cat feel a little, well … less grumpy? (Getty Images)
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Friskies “spokescat” Grumpy Cat and Colonel Meow sit on Santa’s lap at the world premiere event to debut the first-ever holiday music video “Hard to Be a Cat at Christmas” supporting the cause of wet cat food for all cats this holiday season, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, at Capitol Records in Los Angeles. (Bret Hartman/AP Images for Friskies) (AP Images for Friskies)
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Grumpy Cat, Tabatha Bundesen
Grumpy Cat, Tabatha Bundesen
Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat
Grumpy Cat
Cat (AP)
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Grumpy Cat, arguably the internet’s most popular cat and one of its first viral memes, has died aged 7.

The furry sensation’s family announced her death on Twitter on Friday.

“We are unimaginably heartbroken to announce the loss of our beloved Grumpy Cat,” Tabatha Bundesen, Grumpy Cat’s owner, said.

“Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her very loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome. She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabatha.

“Besides being our baby and a cherished member of the family, Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world — even when times were tough. Her spirit will continue to live on through her fans everywhere,” Bundesen, who lives in Morristown Arizona, wrote.

Grumpy Cat, real name Tardar Sauce, had feline dwarfism. This, her owners said, probably accounted for her distinctive facial features and small size.

She became an internet celebrity in September 2012, when Tabatha’s brother Bryan posted photos showing her in all her disgruntled glory on the r/pics subreddit.

Users on the platform immediately reacted by posting countless Photoshopped variations on the original, while the photo’s Imgur page reached 1,030,000 views in its first 48 hours.

On the same day, the Bundesen family posted video clips of Tardar Sauce on YouTube, which racked up millions of views.

“It was suggested that the original photo was Photoshopped, so we posted a few videos on YouTube,” the owners said on the official Grumpy Cat website.

Her popularity was sealed by her participation at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. People stood in line for hours to get their pictures taken with her, while she mostly ignored her fans. CNN, among others, called her the festival’s biggest star.

Grumpy Cat became such a cultural phenomenon that she inspired art projects, perfumes, merchandise, Skechers shoes, comics and even a “Grumppuccino” coffee.

She was also the official “spokescat” for Friskies, and appeared on several US TV shows, including Today and Good Morning America.

Last year, US coffee company Grenade was ordered to pay the Bundesens $710,000 for exceeding an agreement to use her image.

At the time of her death, Grumpy Cat had 1.5 million followers on Twitter, 2.4 million on Instagram and 8.5 million on Facebook.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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