We're sad to report that Grape, the Humboldt penguin at Tobu Zoo who became famous for his infatuation with a carboard cutout of Hululu, an anthropomorphic penguin from the popular anime Kemono Friends, has passed away.

Grape, lovingly known as Grape-kun by his fans, was known for staring lovingly at his Hululu for hours on end, and always being at her side, at one point even requiring zookeepers to place him in a separate enclosure because he was no longer eating.

However, Grape, at 20 years old, was already at the end of the average lifespan for his species, and prone to illness. This time, sadly, his illness was too much for him to bear, and the zoo made the following heartbreaking announcement on their Twitter account this morning:

"Grape the Humboldt penguin passed away yesterday. Thank you everyone who supported him. Also, thank you Hululu for watching over him until the end. Finally, thank you Grape-kun for all these years. Please rest peacefully in heaven."

After news of his death, messages of condolences were quick to appear, along with drawings expressing feelings of sadness at the loss and wishes for his happiness in the penguin afterlife.

"Goodnight ... You did your best..."

Messages poured in from all over the world, not only in Japan.

Thanks to Prinz (@anwo60m) who gave us permission to use this heartfelt drawing for our header image.

Hululu's voice actress, Ikuko Chikuta, who visited Grape-kun at Tobu Zoo earlier this year, had a personal message for her character's number one fan:

"Thank you for loving Hululu and building up excitement for Kemono Friends. Since I never imagined I would have to say goodbye so soon, I am filled with sadness but I hope you will watch over Hululu in Heaven.

I pray for your happiness in the afterlife from the bottom of my heart."

By - Ben K.