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The 'Doge' dog has died

The meme-friendly Kabosu, an adorable Shiba Inu, was likely around 18 years old.

The dog who inspired the famous meme coin Dogecoin has died, according to a post on Instagram by its owner. Kabosu, an adorable Shiba Inu, was likely around 18 years old, though owner Atsuko Sato doesn’t know the exact birthdate of the rescue pup.

“She quietly passed away as if asleep while I caressed her,” she wrote in a blog post published by The Guardian. “I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner.”

The Japanese dog not only inspired Dogecoin, but the iconic 2010 photo became the source of a vast collection of internet memes. Some have even called Kabosu the “Mona Lisa of the internet.” Sato snapped the photo two years after rescuing the dog from a puppy farm, in which she would have likely been put down. The image shows Kabosu with her paws on the sofa while giving the camera, well, a sort of grin.

The photo became an NFT digital artwork that sold for $4 million, back when NFTs were a thing that people paid money for. As for the memecoin, it started as a joke by two software engineers but has now risen to be the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $23 billion. The price has ticked up today, likely by news of Kabosu’s passing.

Dogecoin was most famously backed by Elon Musk, even becoming available as currency to buy certain Tesla products. Other famous backers include Snoop Dogg, Gene Simmons and Mark Cuban, to name just a few.

Dogecoin has also inspired a bunch of other memecoins, from the spin-off Shiba Inu coin to cryptocurrency coins based on cats, Elon Musk and, sigh, even Donald Trump. These coins are known to be highly volatile, so invest at your own risk. Dogecoin, however, has remained mostly stable for a while now.

Musk has long-been the primary cheerleader behind Dogecoin, even changing the Twitter icon to the image of the Shiba Inu, before he pivoted to X. He also single-handily wiped out most of the coin’s value during his disastrous SNL performance and has been accused of using it to defraud investors and create a pyramid scheme.

A statue of Kabosu was erected in Sakura, Japan in November of last year. Reporting indicates that it cost $100,000 to build. “In the last few years I’ve been able to connect the online version of Kabosu, all these unexpected things seen from a distance, with our real lives,” Sato wrote. She has used the virality of her beloved Shiba inu to donate large sums to charities, including more than $1 million to Save the Children. Godspeed, you adorable pup.