Paris Hilton: How The Reality Television Star Made Tinkerbell The Most Famous Dog In America

Paris Hilton is mourning the loss of her iconic Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, and online many are writing eulogies for the dog that for a brief time was the most popular canine in America.

Paris announced Tuesday that her longtime companion had died, sharing the news on Instagram.

"My heart is broken. I am so sad & devastated. After 14 amazing years together my baby Tinkerbell has passed away of old age," she wrote. "I feel like I've lost a member of my family. She was such a special & incredible soul.

"We went through so much together, I can't believe she's gone. I will miss her & think about her for the rest of my life. I love you Tinky, you are a Legend & will never be forgotten."
Paris Hilton adopted Tinkerbell in 2002, purchasing the dog from an online breeding company. According to TMZ, Paris was inspired by the movie Legally Blonde, which features a blonde main character who carries a Chihuahua around like an accessory.

Tinkerbell lived a nearly identical life, joining Paris for her red carpet appearances, often tucked into a purse. The dog even made its way into Hilton's reality show, The Simple Life, and took a prominent role in promotional materials.

TInkerbell dies

The death of Tinkerbell has become national news, with coverage from outlets ranging from celebrity news sites to traditional news outlets. Many have called Tinkerbell one of the famous dogs in America, with her stature matching Hilton's for a brief time.

But as Paris Hilton herself stepped away from the spotlight a bit, no longer appearing on reality shows, Tinkerbell stopped making appearances, as well. The absence even prompted some worried fans to ask Hilton if her famous dog was still alive.

"To everyone who keeps asking if Tinkerbell is alive," Paris wrote along with a video of the dog running. "Here she is, the original queen herself."

After Paris announced that the dog had died, many fans left supportive messages.

"Thank you for all so much for your kind words & condolences," Hilton wrote. "It's really helping me through this very sad & painful time. It feels good to know that Tinkerbell was loved by all & touched the lives of so many. She is truly missed."

While Paris Hilton was famous as one of the nation's first reality television stars, her dog had some drama of her own. The dog went missing in 2004, leading Paris to offer a $5,000 reward for the canine's safe return. A few days later, the dog was back, tucked under Hilton's arm, though she never explained how she got Tinkerbell back.

[Image via Getty Images]