Internet sensation Grumpy Cat, who rose to fame over six years ago after photos of her seemingly displeased facial expression went viral, died on Tuesday at the age of 7, her owners recently confirmed in an online statement.
Grumpy Cat’s death was announced on Thursday afternoon by her owners, siblings Tabatha and Bryan Bundesen and Tabatha’s daughter, Chrystal, as the Morristown, Arizona, family took to Twitter to share the sad news with the feline’s followers. In a statement, the Bundesens also confirmed Grumpy Cat’s cause of death, noting that their pet “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,” the statement continued.
“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.”
As recalled by HuffPost, Grumpy Cat became a household name for internet users when she was a kitten, as Bryan Bundesen was the first to share a photo of the feline’s scowling face on Reddit. It didn’t take long for the cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, to go viral on the internet, as her “purported displeased look” became the subject of many a meme. Since then, Grumpy Cat amassed an impressive following on social media, with 8.5 million followers on Facebook, 2.4 million on Instagram, and 1.5 million on Twitter.
In a separate report, CNN recalled that Grumpy Cat’s popularity was “sealed” when she drew long lines at the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. The outlet recalled that people waited for “hours” for a chance to pose for photos with the cat, who, true to her stage name, “mostly ignored her fans.”
In addition to her status as an online sensation, Grumpy Cat also made an appearance in the Broadway musical Cats and starred in her own feature film, 2014’s Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, where she was voiced by Aubrey Plaza, as noted by People. The feline star even crossed over to the world of professional wrestling, where, in a promotional appearance for the aforementioned film, she was Monday Night Raw’s celebrity guest host for the show’s November 17, 2014, episode, per Bleacher Report.
Grumpy Cat’s cultural impact extended beyond the plethora of memes she was featured in and her appearances in multiple forms of media, as she also endorsed a number of products, including Grenade Beverages’ “Grumppuccino” coffee. However, The Daily Mail noted last year that Grenade was ordered in court to pay the Bundesens $710,001 due to alleged contract breaches that included the release of multiple unauthorized products.