Grumpy Cat, whose scowl brought smiles to many, dies aged 7

Grumpy Cat, whose permanent scowl made her an Internet celebrity and inspired numerous memes, pictured in 2015. The feline, whose actual name is Tardar Sauce and hailed from Arizona, died on Tuesday after complications arose from a urinary tract infe
Grumpy Cat, whose permanent scowl made her an Internet celebrity and inspired numerous memes, pictured in 2015. The feline, whose actual name is Tardar Sauce and hailed from Arizona, died on Tuesday after complications arose from a urinary tract infection, her family wrote on social media. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Grumpy Cat, whose famously grouchy face inspired many popular memes, has died at age seven.

In a statement shared on her official social media accounts yesterday, caretakers said that the famous feline, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, died on Tuesday of complications from a recent urinary tract infection.

"Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her very loving family... (the complications) unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome," said the statement signed by Grumpy Cat's owner Tabatha Bundesen and family members Bryan and Chrystal.

The cat died in the arms of Ms Bundesen in their family home in Arizona.

"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," the statement said, adding that her spirit will live on through her fans.

Grumpy Cat, so named because of her famously furry frown, rose to fame when a photo taken by Ms Bundesen's brother Bryan went viral in 2012 on Reddit, according to the Independent.

The photo garnered more than one million views on photo-sharing site Imgur within two days, reported Yahoo.

Banking on her popularity, Ms Bundesen managed to quit her job as a restaurant waitress and set up Grumpy Cat Limited. The firm's merchandise includes household items, stationery and even books "authored" by the feline.

She has over 2.4 million followers on Instagram, 1.5 million on Twitter and 8.5 million on Facebook.

 
 
 

The firm bearing Grumpy's nickname has earned anywhere between US$1 million (S$1.37 million) and US$100 million in its first few years, reported the Washington Post.

Grumpy Cat appeared on television shows like Today, Good Morning America and American Idol. She was also featured by publications like Time, The Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine.

CNN said that she also starred in a commercial for Honey Nut Cheerios and became an official "spokescat" for Nestle's Friskies cat food in 2013.

Ms Bundesen won US$710,000 (S$976,000) in court in January last year over a copyright infringement case involving a beverage company that used Grumpy Cat's image in a line of iced coffee drinks.

Grumpy Cat's death comes after she celebrated her seventh birthday last month.

She has over 2.4 million followers on Instagram, 1.5 million on Twitter and 8.5 million on Facebook.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2019, with the headline 'Grumpy Cat, whose scowl brought smiles to many, dies aged 7'. Print Edition | Subscribe