Shiba Inu Dog Famous for Viral 'Doge' Meme Has Died: 'She Quietly Passed Away as If Asleep'

Kabosu, who had been suffering from leukemia and liver disease, died on May 24, her owner announced

<p>Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images</p> Kabosu on a Dogecoin

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kabosu on a Dogecoin

Kabosu, the famous Japanese shiba inu dog behind the viral "doge" internet meme, has died at the age of 18.

The canine’s side-eyed expression became the face of Dogecoin cryptocurrency and went viral on social media around 2013.

Kabosu’s owner announced her death in a poem on her blog. "She quietly passed away as if asleep while I caressed her," wrote Atsuko Sato, reported BBC News.

She had been suffering from leukemia and liver disease and died on Friday, May 24, per the outlet.

“At 7:50 a.m. I fell into a deep sleep,” the poem continued, per NBC News and according to a translation by Agence France-Presse. "I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner."

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Sato, a 62-year-old kindergarten teacher from Sakura, said she would hold a farewell party for her furry friend on Sunday, May 26, per the outlet.

Dogecoin also paid tribute to Kabosu in a post shared on X.

“Today Kabosu, our community's shared friend and inspiration, peacefully passed in the arms of her person,” the post on May 24 began. “The impact this one dog has made across the world is immeasurable.”

“She was a being who knew only happiness and limitless love. Please keep her spirit and her family in your heart, and most importantly carry her with you as your story continues — we are all fortunate for hers to have touched and shaped ours.”

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<p>PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images</p> Owner Atsuko Sato with Kabosu in March 2024

PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Owner Atsuko Sato with Kabosu in March 2024

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The famous image of Kabosu — which was taken by Sato in 2010 and shared on her blog — sold as a non-fungible token, or NFT, for $4 million in 2021, according to NBC News.

Dogecoin has been backed by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Gene Simmons and Elon Musk, per BBC News.

Over the years, the iconic meme has been used to comment on world events and pop culture news, while the image also appears on manhole covers in Sato’s home city of Sakura. A bronze statue of the dog was unveiled in the city in November 2023, according to local media outlet The Asahi Shimbun.

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Kobuso was diagnosed with leukemia and liver disease in late 2022, according to AFP. Sato told the outlet in a recent interview that the "invisible power" of prayers from Kabosu’s fans had helped her pull through.

As a rescue pup, Kabosu’s true age isn’t know, but Sato estimated her to be 18- years old in February.

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