The friendly goose who became a viral sensation in 2011 when he befriended a bystander at Echo Park has died, the Los Angeles Zoo said Monday.
"The Los Angeles Zoo is sad to announce the passing of the celebrity, domestic Toulouse goose, Mario," the zoo said in a statement. "The nine-year-old goose resided at the Winnick Family Children's Zoo for the last seven years until his passing on Friday, June 29 due to old age."
The goose gained popularity when he started following retired investor Dominic Ehrler on his walks in the park. When the City of Los Angeles announced plans to temporarily drain Echo Park Lake where Mario lived, the LA Zoo took the goose in. Mario had been living at the zoo ever since, enjoying frequent visits from Ehrler.
The unlikely friendship between Ehrler and Mario sparked massive media coverage, including a feature on Animal Planet. Mario originally went by the name Maria until zoo officials confirmed his sex.
"Mario was an animal that brought joy to many Angelenos, and he will be missed," the zoo said.