Lebanon mourns Oscar, beloved dog of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt
Lebanon was brought to a state of shock on Friday as news rippled across social media that Oscar, beloved dog of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, had died.
“Goodbye best friend, goodbye closest pal, goodbye my beloved Oscar,” the prominent leader of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) tweeted.
Oscar was perhaps the most famous dog in the Middle East.
He often accompanied Jumblatt as the Druze leader met world leaders and key regional players in Mukhtara, Jumblatt's mountaintop palace in Lebanon’s Chouf region.
A source close to Jumblatt told Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star that Oscar died from cancer, though the date of the dog’s diagnosis was not revealed.
Local media reported that Oscar, who was a Shar-Pei, fell ill in November.
Soon after Jumblatt's tweet, tributes began to pour into social media.
The unshakable bond between Jumblatt, who led the Druze throughout the majority of Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, and Oscar was famous across the tiny Mediterranean country.
The profile photo on Jumblatt’s Twitter account, which has 775,000 followers, is of the Druze leader and his dog.
In the PSP chief’s Beirut villa, a framed photograph of the two friends takes pride of place in the living room where distinguished guests are received.
Many commentators on Twitter were moved to give their condolences to Jumblatt, and note the connection that man and dog shared.
Though the grand halls of Mukhtara and Jumblatt's Clemenceau villa will remain littered with historic paintings, antiquities and books, they will now feel a little emptier.