Meow, the morbidly obese orange-and-white tabby who gained international attention after he was dropped at a Santa Fe animal shelter two weeks ago, was euthanized Saturday afternoon by Humane Society employees.

He was two years old.

A sickly cat, Meow was 39 pounds when he arrived at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society. Prone to urinary tract infections and other complications resulting from his mysterious weight gain, Meow developed serious respiratory problems and had to be put to sleep.

"We are devastated," said the shelter's executive director Mary Martin in a statement. "We were in a race against time to get the weight off Meow before he developed complications from his morbid obesity and we lost."

Before he passed on, Meow brightened the days of many Internet denizens, as well as daytime talk show host Anderson Cooper.

"We mourn Meow's death," said Martin, "but we also hope his fight will encourage other people to help their pets maintain the best health possible."

[photo via AP]