Cheems, the shiba inu behind 'cheemsburbger' and 'bonk' memes, passes away amid cancer battle

Cheems, the shiba inu behind 'cheemsburbger' and 'bonk' memes, passes away amid cancer battle

Related video: Shiba inu learns new trick

Cats and dogs have both brought us many iconic memes over the years, and the pup behind one of the most recognisable viral images – Cheems the shiba inu – has passed away, his owner has announced.

Cheems, real name Balltze or ‘Ball Ball’, was popularised online for his love of cheeseburgers or a “cheemsburbger”, and appeared in “Swole Doge vs Cheems” and “bonk” memes too.

He was not the pup behind the ‘doge’ meme, however – with that being a shiba inu named Kabosu who, despite reports in December 2022 that she was critically ill with leukaemia, is still smiling away in adorable photos on Instagram.

In their post to the social media platform on Friday, Balltze’s owners confirmed Cheems “fell asleep” during a surgical procedure known as thoracentesis, which concerns the removal of fluid or air from around the lungs.

He had been battling cancer, with his owners hoping to arrange chemotherapy following the surgery.

The owners wrote: “Don’t be sad, please remember the joy that Balltze brought to the world. A shiba inu with a round smiling face connecting you and me, he has helped many people during the pandemic and brought a lot of joy to many of you, but now his mission is completed.

“I believe he is running freely in the sky and having a lot of delicious food with his new friends. He will always be inside my heart.

“I hope he can continue to bring joy to everyone in the online world, that’s my only humble request.”

Tributes soon poured in for Balltze, with Twitter/X users resharing some of their favourite memes of the beloved pup:

Rest in peace to a very good boy.

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