Cheems, Viral Meme Dog Who Became Face of Dogecoin, Has Died

The internet's favorite "doge" passed away at age 12 during a cancer-related surgery.

Cheems, the internet's most famous shiba inu, has died. According to his family, Cheems -- alternately called Balltze -- passed away during a surgical procedure on Friday. Cheems had been battling cancer and, according to a social media post, died relatively peacefully, as he fell asleep during surgery and just never woke up. The dog became globally recognizable in 2017, and later became the face of Dogecoin, a joke cryptocurrency that was hyped by Elon Musk. Cheems was 12 years old, which -- cancer or not -- was just about at the low end of life expectancy for a shiba inu.

Fans have been following Cheems's medical journey on an Instagram page dedicated to him. Three weeks ago, his family shared that he had undergone thoracentesis, a procedure to remove fluid from his lungs. It was during this procedure that he passed away on Friday.

"Don't be sad, please remember the joy that Balltze brought to the world," the dog's family wrote in a social media post. "A Shiba Inu with a round smiling face connecting you and me, he has helped many people during the pandemic and brought a lot of joy to many of you, but now his mission has completed."

You can see their announcement below.

In addition to details about his passing, Balltze's family praised the doctors at his animal hospital, and thanked fans for their support," the post reads. "All of you have been very generous and helpful, and I'm truly grateful to all of you, your love and support to Ball Ball is so unconditional and I found that is the purest love in the world, having Ball Ball in my life is the best thing ever happened. The donation and brass pins money I have collected for the medical bills will be now donating to local animal charities."

h/t TMZ