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Obama dog Bo, once a White House celebrity, dies from cancer

Former President Barack Obama’s dog Bo died Saturday after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media.

News of Bo's passing was shared by Obama and his wife Michelle on Instagram, where both expressed sorrow at the passing of a dog the former president described as a “true friend and loyal companion.”

“He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair,” Barack Obama wrote.

FILE - In this June 8, 2011, file photo first dog Bo enjoys a nap in a shady spot on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoCarolyn Kaster, File)

Bo, a Portuguese water dog, was a gift to the Obamas from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a key supporter of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign who became close to the family. Bo helped Obama keep a promise to daughters Malia and Sasha that they could get a dog after the election.

A companion dog, Sunny, joined the family in August 2013.

Both were constant presences around the White House and popular among visitors there, often joining the Obamas for public events. The dogs entertained crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll and Bo occasionally joined Mrs. Obama to welcome tourists. The dogs also cheered wounded service members, as well as hospitalized children the first lady would visit each year just before Christmas.

FILE - This Aug. 4, 2010 file photo shows presidential pet Bo climbing the stairs of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. for a flight to Chicago with President Barack Obama. Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoCliff Owen)

In a post featuring a slideshow of images of Bo — including one of him sitting behind the president’s Resolute Desk in the Oval Office — Mrs. Obama recounted his years bringing some levity to the White House.

“He was there when Barack and I needed a break, sauntering into one of our offices like he owned the place, a ball clamped firmly in his teeth. He was there when we flew on Air Force One, when tens of thousands flocked to the South Lawn for the Easter Egg Roll, and when the Pope came to visit,” she wrote.

Mrs. Obama wrote that she was grateful for the time the family got to spend with him due to the pandemic, and said that over the past year, “no one was happier than Bo.”

FILE - In this March 15, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama pets the family dog Bo, a Portuguese water dog, outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoPablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

“All his people were under one roof again,” she wrote.

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2011, file photo Bo, the Obama family dog, walks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoPablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2009, file photo Malia Obama, left, and Sasha Obama play with family dog Bo as they wait for President Barack Obama to arrive on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoGerald Herbert)

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2014, file photo first lady Michelle Obama, left, follows her daughters Malia Obama, center, and Sasha Obama, as they arrive to welcome the Official White House Christmas Tree to the White House in Washington. Malia Obama has Bo on a leash and Sasha Obama has Sunny on a leash. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoSusan Walsh, File)

FILE - In this April 22, 2010, file photo Bo, the Obama's family pet, sits in the Cross Hall before an event with first lady Michelle Obama to welcome children of Executive Office employees at the White House's annual take our daughters and sons to work day in Washington. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoEvan Vucci, File)

FILE - In this June 13, 2011, file photo Bo, a Portuguese water dog and the family pet of President Barack Obama, is seen in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoCharles Dharapak, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2012, file photo A.J. Murray, left, peeks in close at first dog Bo, as first lady Michelle Obama, answers questions from children who are patients at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington. Former President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP PhotoJacquelyn Martin, File)