Meow, the 39-pound cat who made appearances on "Today" and "Anderson Cooper" as he struggled to pare off the pounds, died this weekend, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society announced Monday.
Meow meowed his last after suffering respiratory distress and then pulmonary failure Saturday, the shelter said.
He had won national attention after his elderly owner dropped off the orange-and-white tubby tabby -- weighing in at a walloping 39 pounds and with the contours of a large, fluffy pancake -- at a New Mexico shelter last month.
That facility, in turn, called in the Santa Fe shelter, which placed him in a foster home in hopes he could lose enough weight to be adopted.
As he struggled to drop the pounds, two-year-old Meow became a national celebrity, traveling to New York for appearances on NBC's "Today" show and "Anderson."
In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the Santa Fe shelter said Meow began wheezing last Thursday in his foster home and despite the efforts of four veterinarians, he succumbed to pulmonary failure.
"Meow had been doing so well in his foster home; walking up stairs and seeking affection -- that it is so very hard to believe he is gone," the statement said.
"We will forever be grateful for the attention Meow's size brought to pet obesity and to animal shelters across the country."