Well, this is the worst.
Cecil the Lion, the majestic feline who captivated the world earlier this year, died in his sleep last night. He was 13 years old.
After it became clear to park rangers yesterday that the famous lion might not live through the night, Cecil was treated to a big steak dinner before taking one last roam around the savanna at his home, Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Park rangers say that Cecil then went to sleep for the final time, and at 11:55 p.m. last night, he was pronounced dead.
It’s already become very clear just how much Cecil meant to people. Fans have flocked to the park by the thousands to pay their final respects, and impromptu memorials for the beautiful big cat have been sprouting up all around the globe. The hashtag #RIPCecilTheLion is currently trending worldwide on Twitter, and tweets of grief from Cecil’s countless celebrity fans have been rolling in all morning:
We’re right there with you, Jimmy.
While this is incredibly tragic, it’s comforting to know that Cecil the Lion died in peace. He may no longer be the king of the jungle, but wherever he is now, he surely just became royalty.
See you on the other side, old friend.