Internet-famous feline Grumpy Cat passes away at age 7

Grumpy Cat — the world’s most famous feline, whose frowning face spawned countless memes and an empire that includes plush toys, comics, books, calendars, perfume, sneakers, lottery tickets, and even her own Lifetime TV Christmas special — has died at age 7.

“We are unimaginably heartbroken to announce the loss of our beloved Grumpy Cat,” read a statement released early Friday morning by her family and manager. “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.”

Grumpy Cat, also known as Tardar Sauce, was born April 4, 2012. She first came to fame on Sept. 22, 2012, after Bryan Bundesen, the brother of her owner Tabatha Bundesen, posted a photograph of her on Reddit. The photo went on to rack up more than 1 million views on Imgur in 48 hours. Grumpy’s permanently scowling expression, caused by her underbite and feline dwarfism, made her a viral sensation — especially after her family posted a few videos of her on YouTube in response to Redditors’ accusations that the image was Photoshopped. Grumpy’s frown quickly captured the mood and imagination of a disgruntled nation, and at the end of the year, MSNBC named her 2012's most influential cat.

Related: Grumpy Cat

18 PHOTOS
Grumpy Cat
See Gallery
Grumpy Cat
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 01: Grumpy Cat attends the premiere of Disney's 'Cinderella' at the El Capitan Theatre on March 1, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Grumpy Cat appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 04: Grumpy Cat attends 'The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat' book launch party at Kitson Santa Monica on August 4, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 4: Grumpy Cat and Tabatha Bundesen arrive at 'The Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations By Grumpy Cat' Book Launch Party at Kitson on August 4, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 23: Lifetime celebrates 'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever' at Macy's Herald Square on November 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 04: Grumpy Cat attends 'The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat' book launch party at Kitson Santa Monica on August 4, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: Aubrey Plaza and Grumpy Cat appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Tabatha Bundesen and Grumpy Cat -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Grumpy Cat appears at Lifetime's Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever event at Macy's Union Square on November 21, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Grumpy Cat appears at Lifetime's Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever event at Macy's Union Square on November 21, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 09: Grumpy Cat attends the 'Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations From Grumpy Cat' Book Event At Indigo at Eaton Centre Shopping Centre on August 9, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 07: Grumpy Cat attends Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat book event at Barnes & Noble Union Square on August 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 07: Grumpy Cat attends Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat book event at Barnes & Noble Union Square on August 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 04: Grumpy Cat attends 'The Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations By Grumpy Cat' book launch party at Kitson Santa Monica on August 4, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 04: Grumpy Cat attends 'The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat' book launch party at Kitson Santa Monica on August 4, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 16: Grumpy Cat attends the 'Cat Summer' video launch party at Bleecker Street Records on July 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 4: Grumpy Cat and Tabatha Bundesen arrive at 'The Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations By Grumpy Cat' Book Launch Party at Kitson on August 4, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Tabatha Bundesen and Bryan Bundesen attend Grumpy Cat's 'Grumpiest' Birthday Bash at 404 10th Avenue on April 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Nomi Ellenson/FilmMagic)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

By 2013, Tabatha Bundesen had left her full-time waitressing job and hired Ben Lashes, a former musician who at the time managed feline internet celebrity Keyboard Cat, to focus on Grumpy’s career. That year, an appearance by Grumpy at Austin, Texas’s South by Southwest Interactive festival drew hundreds of people who waited hours in line to meet her, prompting CNN, CBS, and CNET to declare her the biggest star of SXSW Interactive — over Elon Musk, Al Gore, and Neil Gaiman — and thus setting Grumpy madness into overdrive.

Over the years, Grumpy Cat became an icon, appearing on such TV shows as Today, Good Morning America, American Idol, and The Bachelorette and in publications like Time, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Magazine. She was also hired to be the official spokescat for Friskies for a total of five years. In 2014, she starred in Lifetime’s Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, with Parks & Recreation actress Aubrey Plaza, who also produced the holiday special, providing Grumpy’s deadpan voice; Plaza has also been in development with Grumpy's team on a cartoon and movie sequel. As of May 2019, Grumpy Cat had 8.5 million Facebook followers, 2.4 million Instagram followers, 1.5 million Twitter followers, and 1,082 merchandise items for sale in her online shop.

"Grumpy Cat's biggest secret was that aside from her name, she was the sweetest cat you've ever met,” Lashes told Yahoo Entertainment. "She will be missed immensely. Everywhere she went, she brought nothing but happiness."

 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.