Monty Don has revealed his dog Nigel has died after he was taken ill and is now buried with “lots of tennis balls”.
The golden retriever became the surprise star of BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World, receiving his own fan mail, social media fan accounts and lent his name to Don’s book Nigel: My Family And Other Dogs.
Don wrote on Instagram: “I am very sorry to announce that Nigel has died.
“To the end he was happy, healthy and his usual calm, lovely self.
“But he was suddenly taken ill and 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.”
Before his book was published, Don said: “I am just as much a fan of Nigel as any besotted viewer.”
Nigel was frequently seen following Don around the garden with Don’s other Dog Nellie.
Last year Don revealed on Twitter that Nigel had had surgery to remove some growths from his mouth.
He added: “It all went well, he is fine – if a bit sore – will have a quiet weekend and be ready for filming next week. He will, of course, play the starring role in tonight’s GW.”