MARAIS JACON-DUFFY and TAYLOR MEADOR | News Editor and Design Chief
Butler University’s beloved former mascot, Blue II, died on Saturday from complications relating to congestive heart failure.
The news was announced through a press release from Butler President James Danko yesterday.
Over the past few months, Blue’s health took a steep decline as he was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease and a fatal heart condition.
Despite his ailing condition, Blue still spent time on campus alongside his adopted little brother Blue III, “Trip.”
Blue II officially stepped down as mascot on March 9 at the “Changing of the Collar” ceremony that passed the mascot responsibilities to Trip, the university’s current mascot.
Blue joined Butler’s 2013 graduates in crossing the stage, bone firmly gripped in his mouth, to the sound of raucous applause.
Blue became America’s dog and the media’s canine darling during 2010 and 2011 when Butler’s men’s basketball team vied for the NCAA National Championship.
His prolific presence on social media sites such as Twitter, Flickr and Facebook earned him one of the top 10 Twitter accounts representing a college or university and endless followers and fans.
Closer to home, Blue could always be found in the basement of Jordan Hall surrounded by stuffed toys with his handler, Michael Kaltenmark, close by.
Blue spent his nine years with the Kaltenmark family, including Michael, his wife Tiffany, and their son Everett.
Kaltenmark reflected on Blue’s service in a press release.
“Blue really galvanized the pride and tradition of having a live mascot at Butler,” Kaltenmark said. “His daily presence on campus, online and at everything from athletic events to black-tie galas made him a living and breathing fixture of the Butler brand. He was born for the role.”
In response to the news, students, alumni and campus organizations took to Twitter and Facebook to send their condolences to the Kaltenmark family and to celebrate the beloved mascot’s time at Butler.
Butler alumna, Lauren Pedigo tweeted, “hurts my heart to read about @ButlerBlue2. Thinking and praying for the Kaltenmark family this week.”
Sophomore Serena Daley tweeted, “Ok. Time for a campus-wide group hug. RIP Blue II.”
Butler Lambda Chi tweeted “Heroes get remembered, legends never die. Rest in peace, Blue 2.”
Butler HRC tweeted, “@ButlerBlue2 we send our best. Thanks for brightening everyone’s day…Now you have an endless supply of bballs.”
In typical Blue II fashion, he took to Twitter for his final social media sign-off.
“How do I know that all dogs go to heaven? Because I’m there now. It’s been a great ride. Thank you all, God bless @butleru, and #GoDawgs.”