For years, commercials for Bush's Beans have featured an official 'spokesdog' golden retriever named Duke. The pup has been a feature of the brand for more than 20 years, according to the Bush's Beans Facebook page.
One of the furry faces who portrayed Duke, whose real name was Sam, passed away last week after a battle with cancer. The news was broken by David Odom on Facebook, who wrote that he knew Sam's owner.
"Most know him as "Duke" the Bush's Baked Beans dog. His name is actually Sam. He lived in Apopka with our friend Susan his owner. She trains animals to work in commercials. Not just hers but others as well," Odom wrote. "Sadly she had to euthanize Sam yesterday due to an aggressive cancer he was suffering from. She is as we are heartbroken."
More than 84,000 people shared Odom's post, and thousands commented sharing their heartbreak and reminiscing about their own pets.
Bush's Bean's Facebook page confirmed Sam's death and said they were "saddened" to hear of his passing.
"We continue to be overwhelmed by fan interest and their love of Duke. The relationship between Jay and his beloved dog Duke is the embodiment of the BUSH’S brand, and has been a part of our family story for more than 20 years. During that time, we've worked closely with several dogs who portrayed Duke in our commercials, including Sam," the post reads.
"While Sam has not worked with us in years, we are saddened by the news of his passing and are grateful to have had him depict Duke. Because Duke is iconic to BUSH’S and so adored by our fans, we will continue to use him in our ads."