‘Falling Bear’ Struck by Car, Killed

The meme we knew and loved so briefly will live on the Internet forever.

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In this photo provided by the CU Independent, a bear falls from a tree after being tranquilized by Colorado wildlife officials at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., Thursday, April 26, 2012.

Perhaps lost in the shuffle of internet rubbernecking about that astonishing photo of a bear in midair limply falling from a tree was a reason it was probably tranquilized in the first place: it got too close to the dorms on the University of Colorado campus.

In a sad postscript, the Boulder Daily Camera reports that the animal known to the internet as the “falling bear” had again wandered to the wrong place: it was apparently killed on a local highway after getting hit by two cars on Thursday. According to the newspaper report, there were “minor injuries to one of the drivers” of the vehicles and one of the cars was totaled.

The midair bear photo, taken by student photographer Andy Duann (who now owns the copyright), will live online forever, but now the picture is tinged with tragedy. Goodbye, midair bear; may you float forevermore.

(More: A Bear in Midair! Look, Over There!)