BLACKWOOD, New Jersey -- An enormously fat cat named Prince Chunk who became famous when he was found wandering in New Jersey after his owner lost her home to foreclosure has died.
Prince Chunk's adoptive owner, Vince Damiani of Blackwood, said the white tabby died in his sleep Sunday. He was about 10 years old. Damiani said a veterinarian had diagnosed the cat with heart disease.
Prince Chunk skyrocketed to fame in August 2008 after the Camden County Animal Shelter, which took him in, reported that he weighed 44 pounds, just shy of a world record.
Damiani believes that estimate may have been somewhat exaggerated. He said Prince Chunk weighed 22 pounds when he brought the cat home from the shelter.
He soon became a media sensation, appearing on "Good Morning America," "Live with Regis and Kelly," the covers of the New York tabloids and in People magazine.
The Damiani family was chosen from among 500 applicants to adopt him.
The pet's plight inspired the Damianis to establish the Prince Chunk Foundation, a nonprofit that helps financially distressed pet owners keep their animals. The foundation operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California.
Its mission is to prevent animal homelessness by providing temporary assistance to dog and cat owners, including free emergency vet care and pet food, Damiani said.