Shrek the Sheep Dies at Age 16

New Zealand's most famous and beloved sheep, Shrek, died on Monday (June 6) at age 16.

He was put down after an illness which lasted three weeks, local TV reported.

The merino breed sheep gained international fame in 2004 when he was found inside a cave, after escaping the shearer's blade for six years.

Shrek's prodigious fleece later went under the shears on live television, yielding an impressive 27 kilogrammes of wool.

The wool was later auctioned to raise money for the charity Cure Kids and pictures of him were worth an estimated 100 million US dollars, TVNZ reported.

Shrek spent the last seven years in his own complex on the Bendigo station that is "probably the size of a lot of people's homes", TVNZ reported.

Speaking to local television, Shrek's owner, John Perriam said the sheep's health had been failing.

Perriam said, in human terms, Shrek was close to 90 years old, and although they were sad to see him go, he felt that Shrek wanted to go, TVNZ reported.

Shrek the sheep will be cremated and have his ashes scattered over the summit of New Zealand's tallest peak, Mount Cook, Perriam said.