Sad news: Georgia just announced that mascot Uga VIII, who was diagnosed with lymphoma just a month ago, has passed away.
Uga VIII was crowned just last October, taking over after Uga VII died suddenly. Russ, who served as the interim mascot last year, will return to those duties.
Here's the story I just filed:
ATHENS – For the second time in less than two years, the University of Georgia is mourning the untimely death of the nation’s most famous live mascot.
Uga VIII, crowned in the official role only last October, passed away on Friday, the school announced. The dog was diagnosed with lymphoma about a month ago, after missing the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 because of what was thought to be a gastric problem.
So Uga VIII ended up serving only six games, the shortest tenure since the line of Ugas began in 1956.
The previous Uga died suddenly on of heart failure on Nov. 19, 2009. He served in the role just under 15 months.
There were six Ugas between 1956 and 2008. The next one will be the third since 2009.
Uga V, who served from 1990-99, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1997, and was proclaimed the nation’s top mascot.
Uga VIII was born on Sept. 12, 2009, under the original name of “Big Bad Bruce.” The Seiler family, which has maintained the line of Ugas, announced his choice as the new Uga on Oct. 16, 2010, and he was introduced to the crowd at Sanford Stadium before the Vanderbilt game a few days later.
A press release from UGA said no funeral ceremony is scheduled.
On a personal note, as a proud dog-owner, and having lost my nine-year-old cat last month (cared for at the UGA small animal vet teaching hospital), this is obviously a sad day. A dog that was only 15 months old has passed, and that's way too soon.
My favorite Uga moment, and I'm sure many of yours, is this.