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Fans mourn Knut's death at Berlin zoo

In this combo of March 23, 2007, file pictures, Knut the polar bear cub plays with a blanket during his first public appearance in the Berlin zoo.

In this combo of March 23, 2007, file pictures, Knut the polar bear cub plays with a blanket during his first public appearance in the Berlin zoo.  (AP)

Fans of polar bear Knut are laying flowers at Berlin zoo to mourn the sudden death of the bear who as a cub became a household name.

The four-year-old bear died suddenly in his enclosure on Saturday afternoon. He waded into the water before having a short spasm and then dying in front of hundreds of zoo visitors.

Rejected by his mother at birth on December 5, 2006, along with his twin brother, who only survived a couple of days, Knut first attracted attention when his main caregiver camped out at the zoo to give the button-eyed cub his bottle every two hours.

Fan clubs soon sprung up across the globe, including in Japan, the United States and Germany.