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11 May 2020, 14:28 | Updated: 11 May 2020, 16:11
Monty Don has paid tribute to beloved dog Nigel as he confirms his four-legged friend's death.
Monty has said that Nigel, who regularly appeared on the TV show Gardeners' World and was a firm favourite with fans, had passed away through a statement on his Twitter account.
The golden retriever, who Monty has had since he was a puppy, is now buried peacefully at home.
"I am very sorry to announce that Nigel has died," the gardener tweeted this morning.
"He slipped quietly away with no pain or suffering and is now buried in the garden with lots of tennis balls. Rest now old friend. See you in the sweet bye and bye.”
The post was followed by other TV stars paying tribute to the pooch.
I am very sorry to announce that Nigel has died.— Monty Don (@TheMontyDon) May 11, 2020
He slipped quietly away with no pain or suffering and is now buried in the garden with lots of tennis balls.
Rest now old friend. See you in the sweet bye and bye.” pic.twitter.com/FNECBXuTFj
Breakfast presenter Dan Walker said: "How grim to hear. Sorry Monty. He was a much loved part of the GW experience."
Newsreader Sophie Raworth added: "Oh Monty! So sorry x"
The news comes after Monty tweeted about Nigel only last week, ahead of what has now become his last appearance on the show.
Last Friday, May 8 Monty wrote: "...it was wet and cold when we filmed and the other dogs hid - but Nigel stuck it out to the end. A true pro," he wrote (below).
Since his first appearance on Gardeners' World in 2011, Nigel became a surprise star of the show; he soon had his own dedicated social media accounts and received fan mail from admiring viewers.
Monty's dogs Nigel and Nellie had often appeared alongside the star on the gardening programme.
In 2016 the star released a book called Nigel: My family and other dogs.
Gardeners World tonight BBC2 8.30- it was wet and cold when we filmed and the other dogs hid - but Nigel stuck it out to the end. A true pro. ( good gardening stuff too!) pic.twitter.com/xFaUyEr3GF— Monty Don (@TheMontyDon) May 8, 2020
Speaking about the release of the book at the time, Monty said: "I have always had a dog, or dogs. I cannot imagine life without them. I am just as much a fan of Nigel as any besotted viewer.
"In the book I explore why we love dogs and what they mean to us emotionally and domestically. I look back on all the dogs in my life - all of which I have loved deeply and which have been an essential part of my life.
"So, this is the book of Nigel - but also the book of all our dogs in every British family and a celebration of the deep love we feel for them."