Internet-famous Shiba Inu Balltze, widely known online as the Doge meme Cheems, passed away on Friday at the age of 12 while battling cancer.
Breaking the news: Balltze’s Facebook page broke the news on Friday, announcing that the beloved Shiba Inu died while undergoing his last thoracentesis surgery for treating his cancer. They also mentioned that they were originally planning to “arrange chemotherapy or other possible treatment for him” after the operation.
About Balltze: Balltze, whose owners are based in Hong Kong, rose to internet fame after a picture of him went viral in 2013. A few years after that, in 2017, an Instagram page for Balltze was created. Pictures of him from the account were then used for the “Cheems” memes, which essentially misspells words to appear adorable, such as the origin “Cheemsburbger.”
Cancer diagnosis: Balltze was reportedly diagnosed with leukemia in December 2022 and had been battling it with treatments ever since.
How people reacted: Several social media users, including those who commented on the Facebook post, were heartbroken by the news, with one user writing, “He was my favorite ‘internet dog.’ Even though I never met him, I felt like I knew him. Sending you lots of love.”
“I cannot believe that the boss is gone, likewise there are no words to thank the boss for everything he did for us, his followers, his presence marked the lives of many and it is really hard to know that he is no longer here, but his legacy is and will be eternal we must not allow his memes and his legacy to die,” another fan wrote.
“Balltze has been such a big influence in my life for like the last 6 or 7 years, it hurts to hear of his passing but thank you for taking such good care of him,” another comment read.
What they are saying: In a message to fans, the page urged them not to be sad but rather to “remember the joy that Balltze brought to the world.”
“All of you have been very generous and helpful, and I’m truly grateful to all of you, your love and support to Ball Ball is so unconditional and I found that is the purest love in the world, having Ball Ball in my life is the best thing ever happened.”
The page also said that the donations they have collected for Balltze’s medical bills will be donated to local animal charities.