Britain’s Got Talent dog Pudsey has died aged 11 after suffering from blood cancer, it was revealed today.
Ashleigh Butler, who won the ITV talent show with the dog in 2012, said that she was ‘heartbroken’ at her pet’s passing.
Pudsey was put down after suffering from acute leukaemia and was looking into her eyes as he died at a vet’s practice, Miss Butler’s family said.
She wrote on Instagram today: ‘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.
‘My heart is broken, and I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. It hurts so much, that my handsome, incredible Pudsey Bear will never be by my side, where he belongs, again.’
Miss Butler, 22, added: ‘We only had 11 years together, but they were the best years ever. He was my one in a billion dog that will never be replaced.
‘I don’t need to write all of his endless accomplishments on here to prove how incredible he was for me. Sleep tight my handsome man, I love you lots.’
Tributes have flooded in for the Border Collie cross, who stole the nation’s hearts as a contestant in the sixth series of Britain’s Got Talent, which he won with Miss Butler in May 2012.
Winner for the 2008 series George Sampson lead the tributes on social media, writing: ‘RIP my little mate, you were and will always be a superstar’, next to a photograph of the two together.
Fans of the duo revealed their shock over his passing, with one Twitter user, called Hannah, saying: ‘I can’t believe Pudsey the dog has died.’
Kirsty Smith wrote: ‘Oh how awful!! My heart breaks for her. I can’t imagine losing my little one. Go chase them squirrels in the sky #pudsey.’
Another user, called Hamdi, said: ‘NO Pudsey. I’m heartbroken.’
Josie Marie tweeted Miss Butler directly and said: ‘My heart goes out you. I lost 3 & my 12 is terminally Ill. It is heartbreaking. Remember the bond X.’
Miss Butler and Pudsey had first auditioned for the show in Cardiff, when judge Simon Cowell described him as ‘one of the best dancing dogs I’ve ever seen’.
Their dog trick act has continued to be a roaring success – in the same year Pudsey had a role in the BBC TV version of the book Mr Stink by David Walliams.
The duo even met the Queen after taking part in the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2012.
The pair also presented the CBBC TV show Who Let the Dogs Out? In 2014, Pudsey starred in the film Pudsey: The Movie, with his character voiced by Walliams.
‘We so wanted to bring him home to the place where he was born and lived his whole life, but he was too ill to make the journey home from Davies vets.
‘All five of us were with him when we said goodbye, and he was looking into Ashleigh’s eyes as he went.
‘This is going to take us forever to get over, as he meant everything to us. We just can’t believe we won’t see his big brown eyes again. Night night, Pud Pud.
‘You gave us everything and wanted so little in return, just to be loved by Ashleigh and to spend your time doing the things you loved – agility, dancing and showing off.
‘You were our special boy, and truly a dog of a lifetime. Sleep tight little man. Come and rest your head on our legs once in a while.’