Emotional Support Peacock Famously Banned From United Flight Unexpectedly Dies
The world’s most famous emotional support peacock has died.
“At approximately 1pm on Sunday, July 22, 2018, Dexter the Peacock passed away in his favorite human’s arms,” Dexter’s owner Ventiko, a New York-based artist, wrote on Instagram Tuesday.
While Dexter’s cause of death is not clear at this time, it caught his owner by surprise.
“His passing was sudden and unexpected. Attempts were made to save him, but his doctor confirmed that nothing could have been done to alter his fate,” Ventiko continued.
“Dexter defied stereotypes and brought joy and magic to all who encountered him. It was an honor to know him and a privilege to share this life journey with him.”
“He never let fame, adoration or his prodigious number of followers on social media inflate his ego, and he loved working the camera with grace and humility,” Ventiko said in reference to Dexter’s many photo shoots and his 17,000 followers on social media.
“He is survived by his sisters, Eva (pictured here) and Zsa Zsa, and by all the humans who loved him. Dexter, you will forever be missed and remembered with fondness and love,” Ventiko added.
In the photo, Eva the cat can be seen looking up at a shrine for Dexter filled with photos and feathers.
Dexter first gained stardom back in January after his owner attempted to bring him on a United flight out of Newark Liberty International Airport.
A spokesperson for the airline told PEOPLE Ventiko was asked at least three times to leave her pet at home.
“The animal did not meet United’s guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size,” United spokesman Charlie Hobart explained.
“We explained this to the customer… the peacock did not meet the guidelines for an emotional support animal.”
Following the incident, Ventiko shared a photo of Dexter in the baggage claim area at the airport.
“@kumathedestructor took this great shot of me at #newarkairport today. Spent 6 hours trying to get on my flight to LA (after following all required protocol) Tomorrow my human friends are going to drive me cross country! Keep an out for us! ,” Ventiko wrote, speaking for Dexter.
Ventiko previously said her art helped her find herself an emotional support peacock.
In preparation for her installation at the Miami Art Basel in 2014, Ventiko wanted to feature birds in her piece and found an ad for Dexter on Craigslist, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I scooped him up, and was like, ‘Oh my peacock, oh my darling,’ and he just, like, immediately wrapped around my neck and that was it,” Ventiko told the publication.