Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey the dog has died, ITV has confirmed.
The border collie, bichon frise and Chinese crested cross won the contest in 2012 with owner Ashleigh Butler.
A post on the show’s Twitter feed said:
“We are saddened to hear that today we lost Pudsey, a most marvellous winner. Our thoughts are with Ashleigh.”
The pair became famous for their dance routine to the Mission Impossible theme, and were the first dog act to win the competition.
In a since-deleted post on Instagram, Ashleigh said:
“I can’t honestly believe I am writing these words. My handsome man has gone and I don’t know what to do without him.”
It is reported Pudsey was put down after developing blood cancer.
The much loved dog and his owner, who hailed from Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, had worked together for 11 years.
In October 2012, a book titled Pudsey: My Autobidography, was released, chronicling the pet’s rise to fame. He then hit the big screen in 2014, taking the leading role in his own movie, Pudsey The Dog: The Movie. The pair also travelled to America following their big win, where they performed on America’s Got Talent and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Tributes began to pour in within minutes of Britain’s Got Talent sharing the news, with fans saying they were “heartbroken” and sending wishes to his family.
Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams took to Twitter to pay tribute, writing: “Farewell to a very special dog that the nation fell in love with.”
Fan Jennifer Wood also tweeted: “Actual just started crying reading an article about Pudsey the dog dying…too sad.”