The Saddest Celebrity Pet Deaths

Celebs, as that one tabloid magazine keeps insisting, are just like us. And while that might be a big, fat lie, one thing even the most regular of average Joes has in common with those of the more famous variety is how much we love our pets. Having a companion animal just makes life a million times better. For the famous, it probably means everything to have a friend who couldn't care less how many Instagram followers you have, or how your last film did at the box office, and will never ask for money. (Unless it's a squeaky toy that looks like a stack of bills.) They just love their guardians absolutely.

The loss of a precious pet can be utterly devastating. And while celebs might have all the money in the world, even they can't protect their pets from every danger or keep them from ageing. These are the saddest celebrity pet deaths.

George Clooney's pet pig, Max

George Clooney is not known for playing particularly kooky characters or living an eccentric lifestyle. He's got a close group of guy friends and seems to live a pretty normal life, at least for someone with his level of fame and amount of money.

In other words, he might be rich and attractive, but he's boring. Except for one seemingly out of left field fact: George Clooney owned a pig. And not like, on a farm that he let other people run. According to CBS News, potbelly pig Max lived in the actor's mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Clooney got Max when the pig was about 1 year old and Clooney was 27, and Max was his faithful companion for the next 18 years. Clooney once said Max was the longest relationship he'd ever had. The actor cared for his pet so much that he put him on a diet when the pig put on a lot of weight, according to "George Clooney: The Last Great Movie Star."

Max was a fighter, surviving being run over by one of Clooney's friends in his youth. But old age comes to us all. When Max passed away of natural causes in 2006, it made national news. Clooney's publicist Stan Rosenfield said, "Max, like any pet, became a member of the family." Clooney's response was subdued, saying, "I was really surprised, because he's been a big part of my life."

Tess Daly's dog, Minnie

Tess Daly is the co-presenter of "Strictly Come Dancing," which is essentially the British version of "Dancing with the Stars." While she might not be famous Stateside, she's a very well-known TV personality over there. And if her level of fame doesn't seem to qualify her for this list, the tragic way she lost her pet certainly does. Losing a pet, even if they die peacefully from natural causes in old age, is always heart-wrenching. But when you are unambiguously the cause of your pet's death? That is something you never get over.

According to the Independent, in 2019, Daly experienced what she described as "a dog owner's worst nightmare." While work was being done on her family's house, a door was left open and her dog, Minnie, got out. Daly (pictured with different dogs who are absolutely fine, probably) didn't see the small Shih Tzu running around outside when she returned home in her SUV. She ran over 6-year-old Minnie, killing her.

"I'm horrified and devastated by this terrible, tragic accident," Tess Daly told The Sun on Sunday (via the Independent). "It has had a huge effect on the whole family and we are heartbroken at losing Minnie. This has, and continues to be, a very emotional time for us all." Adding to the tragedy, Daly had lost another young dog to lungworm just three years before.

Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Jessica Simpson all lost dogs the same way

Many celebrities live in the Los Angeles area, since they kind of have to if they want to keep working in Hollywood. And while we think of L.A. as a bustling city, it's also home to wild animals. Specifically, it has a coyote problem, which is a real concern for pet parents. Coyotes will attack their precious fur babies and straight up kill them. This has been the sad case for at least three celebrities and their dogs.

US Weekly reports that Jessica Simpson lost her adorable pup to one of these wild animals way back in 2009. "My heart is broken because a coyote took my precious Daisy right in front of our eyes. HORROR!" she tweeted at the time.

Miley Cyrus was on tour when her dog, Floyd, was attacked and killed by a coyote in 2014. Popcrush says that she started crying during a sound check, since the tour didn't stop for the dog's death.

A year later, Demi Lovato lost their adorable dog Buddy (pictured) in a "tragic accident" when a coyote wandered into the star's backyard. Lovato posted a message to fans on Instagram: "Buddy was loved by so many people and as small as he was, he made a huge impact in our lives. He truly was human in a way and we were so blessed to have him in our lives."

Audrey Hepburn's Yorkshire terrier, Mr. Famous

Audrey Hepburn was often photographed with dogs, to the point that Forbes described them as "part of her aesthetic." Long before the days of Paris Hilton and her purse dogs, Hepburn brought her beloved pooches everywhere with her. As she said, "I walk my dogs to keep me fit. I talk to my dogs, which keeps me sane. I can't think of anything that makes one happier than to cuddle and play and start the day with a warm puppy."

Her Yorkshire terrier, aptly named Mr. Famous (pictured), was Hepburn's most well-known dog. She brought him with her on set, riding around on her bike with the pooch in a basket during breaks in shooting. According to National Purebred Dog Day, he even appeared on magazine covers and had a cameo during a pivotal scene in Hepburn's film "Funny Face."

Tragically, while on set with Hepburn for another movie, "The Children's Hour," Mr. Famous was hit by a car and died.

Rudolph Valentino's German shepherd, Kabar

Silent film star Rudolph Valentino was so gorgeous, that women went into hysterics when they heard about his untimely death in 1926, aged just 31 (via Vintage News). But his dog, Kabar, apparently gave both Valentino and his fans a run for their money. The gossip columnist Jimmie Fidler called Kabar "the most beautiful Doberman Pinscher of my memory." (via Find a Grave).  And according to legend, when Valentino died, no one mourned harder than Kabar.

Valentino was away from home when he died and, unusually for when he went on a trip, had left Kabar in California. It's said that the moment his master died, Kabar started howling. The dog couldn't be calmed, even by Valentino's brother, and he soon ran away. When he finally came home months later, he was in a terrible state, as if he'd worn himself almost to death looking for Valentino. One newspaper theorized that Kabar must have tried to travel all the way across the country trying to find him.

Whether it was a broken heart or the strain of that ordeal, the dog never seemed to recover after his master died. The loyal Kabar died in January 1929. He's said to haunt the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, with people claiming they hear dogs barking or even feel something licking their hand by his grave.

Eartha Kitt's St. Bernard, July

Eartha Kitt might be famous for playing Catwoman in the kitschy 1960s TV show "Batman," but it appears she was a dog person at heart. And one of her important canine companions was a St. Bernard named July (not pictured here with Kitt — that is a much tinier dog).

In her book "Rejuvenate! (It's Never Too Late)," Kitt talks about how she dealt with losing out on a part she really wanted in a major Broadway show by walking in the woods with July. July shows up other times in the book too, like when Kitt explains what's in her bedroom. The knickknacks all have meaning, like the vase, and painting, and the by-that-time-late July's skull. While she's self-aware enough to know that most people would feel having her dead dog's skull by her bed is "unnerving, because skull's bring to mind death," Kitt finds it simply evokes happy memories.

Still, a reporter for the South Florida Sun Sentinel couldn't help asking about the skull when given a tour, and Kitt explained how her pet died. "That's my dog, July," she says. "That's his skull. He was a St. Bernard. ... He was so protective of me. He and I used to go up to a special place in the pine woods, and we'd just sit there together. Then one day, while I was away on tour, he went up there by himself to our spot and he died there."

Orlando Bloom's dog, Mighty

Orlando Bloom did everything he could to find his dog, Mighty (pictured, on Bloom's lap during a press tour), after the pooch went missing.  During a seven-day (and night) search he described as a "waking nightmare" (via CNN), Bloom scoured the neighborhood, trampled through his well-heeled neighbors' backyards, and begged his more than 4 million Instagram followers to be on the lookout. He brought in two sniffer dogs to do what humans couldn't. Jennifer Aniston even joined in the search for the adorable pup.

Unfortunately, the search ended in tragedy. After a week of searching, Bloom found Mighty's collar. While no other details were given, there was obviously evidence that Mighty had been killed, rather than simply lost his collar somehow. Bloom called off the search and updated his Instagram followers with the sad news:

"Mighty's on the other side now ... I have wept more this week than I thought possible, which has been very cathartic and healing ... I feel so grateful to have learned from my little Mighty man that love is eternal and the true meaning of devotion. I feel sure he was looking down on me whistling in every backyard and knowing that I was doing all I possibly could to respect our bond. He was more than a companion. It was a soul connection." The caption accompanied a video of Bloom getting a tattoo of Mighty's name over his heart in tribute.

Jonathan Van Ness' cat, Bug the 2nd

In 2018, "Queer Eye's" Johnathan Van Ness' cat Bug passed away, age 13. According to People, Van Ness posted a photo of himself with Bug on Instagram, writing "Loving you is the best thing that ever happened to me ... the world will never look quite the same to me without you in it."

While any death of a pet hurts, this is not the tragic one. After Bug died, Van Ness adopted two kittens to help get through the pain, taking to Instagram again to say "Losing Bug has been one of the saddest experiences of my life. Getting two gorgeous kittens in that full grown cat shaped hole in my heart is helping my reparative process immensely."

One of the kittens was named Bug the 2nd in the late Bug's memory. Sadly, Bug the 2nd would have a much shorter life than his namesake. Less than a year after Van Ness adopted Bug the 2nd, he woke up one day and discovered that sometime the night before, the cat had fallen out an open window and died. Once again, Van Ness had tragic news to share with his Instagram followers: "I'm hurting so bad today I can't put it into words, for anyone else experiencing grief and loss, I'm with you." But he tried to make some good out of the tragedy, writing, "Not sure how I'm going to make this loss mean something more but in the meantime, please make a donation to an animal shelter near you."

Ed Sheeran's cat, Graham the Kitten

One of the parts about being a celebrity that seems like it would kind of stink is all the traveling. Sure, you get to see far-flung locations, but you're away from home a lot of the time and miss important events, both happy and tragic. Especially when you're a musician who tours for months on end. Sometimes you are just not going to be there when something terrible happens.

So it was for Ed Sheeran and the death of his cat, Graham the Kitten. The musician adopted the cat in 2014, and even had a Twitter account for him at one point. (Sheeran is very much a cat person, and Graham had two adopted siblings, Dorito and Calippo.) Sheeran was away on tour in 2019 and had left the ball of fluff in the care of his manager, Stuart Camp, and Camp's girlfriend, Liberty Shaw, according to People. But one night Graham was hit by a car and died.

Shaw posted a message on social media, saying "Our lovely little bud Baby Ba Boo a.k.a. Graham the Kitten passed away last night after being hit by a car. We are absolutely heartbroken. He was such a dude. Funny and clever and best mates with a massive German shepherd. We are going to miss you so much. Thanks for all the fun." Sheeran simply posted a picture of himself and Graham on Instagram, captioned with a broken heart emoji.

Logan Paul's parrot, Maverick

Logan Paul divides opinion, but even annoying people can have adorable pets. The pets don't know any better, after all. And Paul seemed to have a real connection with his parrot, Maverick.

When the parrot died, Paul posted a 20-minute video in which he explained that Maverick had been his best friend for much of the last decade, according to Insider. Paul had named his clothing line Maverick, and designed the logo after his parrot. Maverick was even an influencer, with his own Instagram account and 1.3 million followers. Paul held some of the bird's colorful feathers in his hands, and related stories of his best friend's life to his millions of followers. (He also filmed his reaction to finding out Maverick was dead, which probably makes sense in his world, but still. Weird.) The YouTube star said he'd been away in Sweden when Maverick passed away, and explained the unexpected way it happened:

"And by passed, I mean, he was eaten by my Mastiff, who mistook him for a small rubber chicken ... As bizarre as it sounds, this little parrot's legacy will live on FAR beyond his life ... But for all the Mavericks out there who continue to see life through the lens of possibility, who continue to persevere and embrace their differences, I have never-ending love and optimism for you. Maverick will always be with us in spirit, and he will forever hold the largest piece of my heart."

Oprah Winfrey's golden retriever, Gracie

Oprah Winfrey is a positive person. But there comes a point where trying to find a silver lining gets weird. The death of Oprah's golden retriever, Gracie, was one of those times she probably should have just accepted being sad, instead of trying to turn it into something good for herself, and then telling all her magazine's readers about it.

As explained in O Magazine, Oprah said: "I don't believe in accidents. I know for sure that everything in life happens to help us live." But to outsiders, Gracie's death definitely looks like an accident. The golden retriever (pictured in Oprah's right hand) went on a normal, everyday walk with her dogwalker, and minutes later she choked on a ball meant for a smaller dog and died. Oprah got the call that Gracie was dead and ran out to see her.

"I leaned over my sweet and wild and curious and mind-of-her-own Gracie, and asked, 'Dear Gracie, what were you here to teach me that only your death could show me?'," Oprah wrote. Apparently, it was to show Oprah to slow down. The day before Gracie died, Oprah told her doctor she hadn't been doing the self-care she had been ordered to do. So Gracie's death was a message: "Slow down, you're moving too fast. I got the message. Thank you for being my saving Gracie. I now know for sure angels come in all forms."

Salma Hayek's dog, Mozart

The death of Salma Hayek's dog, Mozart, was not just tragic, it prompted a full-blown police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the pooch's demise. According to the Washington Post, Hayek owns a ranch/animal sanctuary in Washington State. In February 2016, the ranch caretaker went for a horseback ride, accompanied by some of Hayek's rescue dogs, including Mozart. But Mozart didn't return with the group, and was later found dead. A necropsy found that "a .177 cal. lead pellet was found to have traveled between two ribs and then nicked a pulmonary artery, causing Mozart to internally bleed out."

Hayek was devastated, saying on Instagram, "I haven't posted for a week as I [have] been mourning the death of my dog, Mozart, who I personally delivered out of his mother's womb. He was found dead in my ranch last Friday with a shot close to his heart ... He was the most loving and loyal companion. He didn't deserve a slow and painful death."

A police investigation determined Mozart had gone on to a neighbor's property and started fighting with his dogs. While the owner admits he fired a weapon to break up the fight, he was sad for what happened. "We didn't even know we killed a dog. To find out we killed a dog that belonged to a high profile person, I'm in shock," he said. "My heart is broken. I'm really sorry that the dog died." No charges were filed.