On Friday morning, the Twitter feed for our grumpiest internet sensation read, “Some days are grumpier than others…”
Grumpy Cat, the feline with a frown permanently scrawled across her face, died Tuesday due to complications from a urinary tract infection, according to a message from the animal’s owners, Tabatha, Bryan, and Chrystal Bundesen. She was 7 years old.
“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,” the message reads. “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,” it continues. “Her spirit will continue to live on through her fans everywhere.”
Born on April 4, 2012, Grumpy Cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, became an instant Internet star when a photo was shared to Reddit in September 2012 with the caption, “Meet grumpy cat.” After claims of Photoshopping, the owners shared a video that was just as popular.
The image sparked a meme and earned the animal the Meme of the Year award from the Webby Awards, as presented by Patton Oswalt. From there, Grumpy Cat became the face of a business, from clothing apparel to plushies to comic books to a cover of New York Magazine that chronicled the cat’s rise and popularity.
In 2013, Grumpy Cat’s book, Grumpy Cat, hit No. 7 on The New York Times‘ advice, how-to, and miscellaneous best-seller list. In 2014, Grumpy Cat became the star of a Lifetime movie, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, featuring Aubrey Plaza as the voice of Grumpy Cat.
In 2015, Grumpy Cat Limited, the company behind the animal, filed a lawsuit against Grenade Beverage LLC, which used Grumpy Cat’s likeness to sell an iced coffee drink called the “Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino.” According to NPR, the cat’s company won $710,000 in 2018.
Despite the apparent look of disdain, Grumpy Cat “really isn’t grumpy,” according to the cat’s website. “She is a super cute and cuddly kitty and loves to be held and rubbed!”