Grumpy Cat, the internet sensation who became one of the first viral memes, died on Tuesday, May 14. She was 7.
“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,” Grumpy Cat’s family said in a statement on Friday, May 17, on her Twitter account, which has amassed more than 1.5 million followers. “She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabitha.”
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.” The tweet was captioned, “Some days are grumpier than others.”
Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce) became an internet phenomenon after her owner, Tabatha Bundesen from Morristown, Arizona, posted a photo of her on Reddit in September 2012, simply captioned, “Meet grumpy cat.” Many Redditors assumed the cat’s scowl was Photoshopped, which prompted the Bundesen family to post videos of her on YouTube as proof that it was not.
Grumpy Cat, who had feline dwarfism, was named Meme of the Year at the 2013 Webby Awards, besting the viral songs and videos for Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.”
The pet also famously participated in the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, where her beloved fans waited hours in line to take a picture with her.
Additionally, Grumpy Cat’s likeness appeared on countless merchandise, ranging from clothing to comics. She was also the official “spokescat” for Friskies cat food and starred in her own Lifetime holiday movie, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.