RIP Princess Chunk

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Just over two years ago the world met Princess Chunk, a ten-year-old New Jersey cat that made headlines for weighing 44 pounds when it was found by a rescue group. Since no one knew the ten-year-old feline's actual name at first, the tabloids gave it the colorful nickname by which it became known. (Eventually, live on Regis and Kelly, a veterinarian would scrutinize the cat's private parts and learn that, in fact, this princess was actually a prince.) It turned out that our princess was left homeless and adrift like so many other Americans in late 2008, after the banks foreclosed on his home. But Chunk's story seemed to end happily, at least at first: Over 800 people volunteered to give him a home, and the family that finally did put Chunk on a diet even built him his very own castle-shaped litter box.

For a period, Chunk had to suffer the indignities of fame, as he was constantly photographed wherever he went and pressured into making charity appearances. But by the time 2009 rolled around, our fearless feline was living the quiet life, barely recognizable after having lost more than a dozen pounds.

Last week, according to family, Princess Chunk died in his sleep in his Blackwood, New Jersey, home. In his last hours, he was surrounded by friends, family, and — just as he would have wanted it — food. He was ten years old.

Flabby tabby in heaven [NYP]