The recently retired Texas Longhorn mascot Bevo XIV has died, University of Texas at Austin officials said Friday.
The 2,100-pound longhorn was diagnosed with the bovine leukemia virus earlier this month. The university said in a press release that he "passed away in his sleep" Friday. He was being kept at a ranch owned by his owners and caretakers, UT-Austin benefactors John T. and Betty Baker.
Bevo's retirement was announced earlier this month. He missed the Longhorns' most recent football game — an upset win against rival Oklahoma — and the team is expected to be without a longhorn on its sidelines for the rest of the year while a replacement is sought.
"Bevo XIV was so much more than a traditional mascot — he was so big and strong, but he had such a sweet personality and a gentle soul," said Ricky Brennes, executive director of the Silver Spurs, the group that cares for Bevo. "He loved the attention that came with being Bevo but was very cool, calm and smart. Like a dog he would come when called by name, show up to the house looking for treats and even roll over on his side so Mrs. Baker could rub his belly. He did so much for his university and community. His last few days provided great memories, but we miss him already."
Bevo was born in 2002 and began his tenure as the mascot in 2004. In addition to routinely starring at football games, he was a regular at UT-Austin and Texas events. He attended the second inauguration of President George W. Bush, according to the university.
The search for his replacement has already begun. The school said it is looking for a longhorn with "the same majestic qualities as previous longhorns that have worn the famous Bevo halter."
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.