Former President Barack Obama announced that his family’s beloved dog, Bo, has died.
The former president tweeted on Saturday that the Obamas lost a “true friend and loyal companion.”
“For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives ― happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between,” he added.
The Obamas welcomed Bo into their lives, and to the White House, in April 2009, three months after the president took office.
Michelle Obama posted a statement about Bo on Instagram, sharing that he died after a battle with cancer.
“This afternoon was a difficult one for our family,” she wrote. “We said goodbye to our best friend.”
Bo, a black-and-white Portuguese water dog, was a gift to the family from Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), according to the Presidential Pet Museum. The dog was apparently named as a nod to Michelle Obama’s father, Fraser C. Robinson III, who had the nickname “Diddley.” Bo Diddley was a rock ‘n’ roll legend who died in 2008.
Michelle Obama said in her statement that she and her husband had promised their daughters, Sasha and Malia, that the family would get a puppy after the campaign in 2008.
“We had no idea how much he would mean to all of us,” she said. “For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, comforting presence in our lives.”
Obama wrote in a later tweet that Bo “tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House,” and that he “had a big bark but no bite.”
“He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected,” Obama wrote. “We will miss him dearly.”
The Obamas later welcomed Sunny, another Portuguese water dog, to their clan in 2013.
Fans of Bo and Sunny took to social media in 2017 to express their dismay that the former first dogs were leaving the White House after Obama finished his second term in office.