Britain's Got Talent: The Champions viewers were reduced to tears as ex-winner Ashleigh Butler told of the moment her beloved dancing dog Pudsey died.
The pair, who had an unbreakable lifelong bond since her parents bought the puppy as a surprise 11th birthday present, won the sixth series of BGT.
Ashleigh, who performed with Sully to open the brand new series on ITV tonight, spoke movingly of the moment Pudsey passed away.
The 24-year-old said: "Pudsey had a long and incredible life but it was unfortunately cut short very unexpectedly.
"Pudsey was so weak at the end that he had to be on oxygen and he was really struggling.
Pudsey is in dog heaven, looking down now at you.
"He actually lifted his head and had a little look at me.
"That was him saying goodbye."
It was all too much for many BGT fans, who took to Twitter to share their sadness.
— Beck (@NewFoundWings) August 31, 2019
— 🌻💜Rebekah🎗🏳️🌈 (@YoutubeSavedMeX) August 31, 2019
— Rachael B (@barker85_rach) August 31, 2019
Pudsey 😭😭 #BGTChampions
— Megan May A. Gemini (@liammcr_) August 31, 2019
Ashleigh and Sully wowed the crowd with a routine to A Spoonful of Sugar, from Disney classic movie Mary Poppins, on tonight's show.
Head judge Simon Cowell told them: "That film made me really sad to begin with but then I’m thinking Pudsey is in dog heaven, looking down now at you.
"And everyone forgets how amazing you are. You have this absolute gift with animals.
"What an amazing start to the show because you define the word ‘champion’. Congratulations."
* BGT: The Champions continues next Saturday night on ITV.
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