Uggie The Dog

Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Uggie, the dog who starred in the 2011 Oscar-winning film The Artist, has died.

The Jack Russell terrier, who hit it big by starring in Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon's 2011 movie Water for Elephants, was put down last Friday in L.A. after battling a prostate tumor, according to TMZ. He was 13.

Uggie, who was owned by animal trainer Omar Von Muller, won the Palm Dog Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for his work in The Artist. He also won the Golden Collar Award for the role. Sarah Clifford, who trained Uggie for his scenes in The Artist, told TMZ that he was "a perfect little terrier. I will forever hold him dearly in my heart and never forget his infinite love for chicken and hot dogs."

"Sad news. Our beloved Uggie has passed away," the dog's official Twitter account confirmed Wednesday. "He will always live on in our hearts and in film, his book, and his app. Miss you buddy."

In an exclusive statement to E! News, The Mindy Project's Beth Grant said, "I was just crazy about that pup! He was the cutest, sweetest, SMARTEST little fella. He really added so much to The Artist, we all felt very lucky to have such a special pup. He came to the premiere at the AFI Film Festival and was just as social as he could be, meeting so very many people, always happy! Wherever we went to do press, he was never afraid of the lights, or the crowds and excitement—always enjoyed meeting people!"

"One of my favorite memories of The Artist press tour happened while taking photos on the red carpet at the Golden Collar Awards. I was holding him and he gave me a huge, loving lick right on the mouth! I'm an ole country girl at heart who has always loved dogs and that photo is a cherished one for me."

Grant called Van Muller a "loving man who rescued Uggie from being sent to the pound. He always had a pocketful of sausages for Uggie and we all enjoyed giving him a bite when we were allowed."

"Jean Dujardin genuinely loved Uggie. They were quite close and at our various events Jean would hang out with Uggie as best friends do," she said. "They had such a beautiful communication with just a look."

"We were lucky to have such a smart, sweet doggie," Grant added. "He was definitely a big part of the movie and in all of our hearts."

PETA also issued a statement Wednesday, saying, "His remarkable life is a reminder that countless dogs and cats are waiting in animal shelters for someone to 'discover' them. Like Uggie, each of them is a star—they just need a loving home where they can shine."

Uggie was the first dog to have his paw prints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he also was also Nintendo's first spokesdog. His memoir Uggie, My Story, was published in 2012. At the time of its release, Von Muller told USA Today, "He goes from being asleep to action instantly. He's like, 'Let's do this.' Uggie is a true star." The book's co-author, Wendy Holden said, "There's just something about Uggie. He was born to be a star. The fact he ended up being a dog is sort of by-the-by. And he wasn't some pedigree dog born into this. He was destined for the pound. He has this extraordinary story."

The pooch appeared in commercials before starring opposite David Boreanaz in 2006's Mr. Fix It. "Mostly I had to sit and look interested and cock my head as if listening," he wrote of his first major movie. "It was no sweat."

It was Witherspoon, though, whom Uggie loved working with most. "I adored her," Uggie wrote in his book. "At the ripe old age of 56 in human years I had fallen in love for the first time...and boy did I fall."

"They were very close," Von Muller told USA Today of Uggie and Witherspoon. "When Uggie would come on set, he'd be all over her. She was a real animal lover. And he likes to kiss a good-looking girl."

The dog retired from strenuous acting at age 10.

"I thought it was not fair for him to be working the long hours. He would not enjoy it anymore," Von Muller said. "On The Artist he was pulling the leash to get on the set. But he's older. He cannot spend 10 to 15 hours on set anymore for 20 straight days." Uggie missed being in the spotlight, though. "He's a working dog. You can see he misses it. Every morning it's like, 'OK, are we going to go out?' His tail is wagging. He wants to go out and do the work he has done his whole life. He loves the attention." Of course, Uggie lived a full life. As the dog wrote in his memoir, "I have no regrets. My only hope is that long after my paws no longer trod this Earth I will still be remembered as a little artist with a big heart."

—Reporting by Chris Harnick

 (Originally published on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, at 4:47 a.m. PDT.)

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