In the end, all the Twitter jokes in the world couldn't keep Hostess from shuttering as the company announced today that it will move ahead with plans to ask a federal bankruptcy court for permission to liquidate its assets and fire some 18,500 employees.

The Twinkies manufacturer gave its striking workers until 5 PM yesterday to return to work or risk losing their jobs.

After the ultimatum deadline passed with the vast majority of bakers remaining on the picket line, Hostess released a statement saying it had no choice but to shut down.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said CEO Gregory Rayburn.

Out of 18,500 individuals employed by Hostess, only 5,000 belong to the bakers' union.

The end of Hostess doesn't necessarily mean the end of Devil Dogs, Ho Hos, and Fruit Pies. The 82-year-old institution will sell its recipes at auction to the highest bidder, meaning Twinkies will likely go on to outlive its maker as nature intended.

[photo via AP]