Roger, the famous muscled marsupial who transformed from an orphaned joey to an alpha meme-worthy male, died in the Australian kangaroo sanctuary he dominated. He was 12 years old.
Long live Roger.
"Today is a very sad day because we lost our beautiful boy Roger," said the founder and operator of the Shrine, Chris "Brolga" Barnes, in a Facebook video.
The world might never have discovered this absolute unity if Barnes had not found a red kangaroo killed by a highway in Australia in 2006. Inside his bag was a small, hairless, helpless joey. Barnes rescued him and named him Roger, in honor of Roger Rabbit, for his amusing enormous ears.
Roger flourished under the care of Barnes, a former tour guide of the national park also known as "Kangaroo Dundee".
In 2011, Barnes built his now 76th Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs. It had been Barnes' longtime dream to open a haven like that – but that was also how Roger "and some of his wives" would have a place to live, Barnes said.
At the shrine, Roger continued to grow (and grow and grow) to reach 2.04 m (6 ft-7) and almost 90 kg. He finally reached his ears.
"Roger was our alpha male for many years," explained Barnes, in the understatement of the year.
Among the frequent posts on the social networks of the Kangaroo Sanctuary, Roger's photos jumped immediately.
Other roos were characterized by their doe eyes or the sight of them stuck in improvised pockets or their propensity to caress soft carpets.
Not so for Roger. Posts on Roger mainly highlighted his volume. There was simply no getting around the fact that Roger was. . . seriously ripped.
"Roger's favorite game is to crush your power bucket!" exclaimed a post, in which Roger seemed to have shattered, without effort, a bucket of tin with his brute strength.
In features of the Kangaroo Sanctuary, Roger could be seen chasing Barnes around, threatening to kick him or punch him. Barnes explained that Roger, as an alpha male, saw him – and all other males, humans, or kangaroos – as a threat to his harem.
"Every day he wants to get me out of his territory and stay away from the girls," Barnes said. National Geographic Wild.
Barnes once published marks of injury that Roger inflicted on the back with a "hug". Again, Barnes injured his right knee trying to escape the massive marsupial. ("He wanted a piece of me, there's no doubt about it," Barnes said then).
Roger was often seen erect, repeatedly emitting a wheezing sound whenever Barnes came close enough to take a picture.
"The noise he's making is telling me to stay away from his kangaroo lady," the legend said in a video of the sanctuary posted by Roger. "And the red on his neck is a scent males wipe in the trees, etc., to mark their territory."
The posts have transformed Roger into a social media superstar, possibly the icon among Australia's most iconic animals.
His physique inspired a series of memes and jokes from Chuck Norris.
Roger could beat Isis alone, or at least take over the mountain of The Game of Thrones.
Roger Rabbit? More like Roger Schwarzenegger.
He was literally a mob boss, many noted.
"Roger made 8 years at the Bronx Zoo."
Did the other kangaroos get up?
Occasionally, the photos showed a softer side of Roger, like when he was seen hugging a giant plush bunny.
"But it is said that after the picture was taken, he threw the rabbit on the ground and tried to kick it too," according to WHAS 11 News.
In fact, despite his larger-than-life construction, Roger was typical of a red kangaroo male – and illustrated the dangers of not letting a hand-raised male kangaroo out before it was too late.
Because of an injury, Roger could not be released in the wild before, Barnes told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
And since Roger had grown up around humans, it was feared that he could be dangerous to people if he wandered free outside the sanctuary.
"It has often happened in zoos and wildlife parks that any time a non-domestic hand-reared animal has a wild nature," Barnes was quoted as saying. Daily Mail. "Kangaroos are kick boxers, they want to fight. If they grew up close to people, they will want to fight people."
In his twilight, however, Roger began to succumb to old age. The sanctuary revealed in a 2016 video that Roger was suffering from arthritis and lack of vision, and had lost some weight, making it hard to find sometimes in the bush.
In the video, Barnes knelt next to the "once-mighty Roger," caressing him softly as he had done more than a decade ago when he found him at the side of the road.
"I would never have been able to pet Roger like I am now, but he's getting old … and the old men do not fight," Barnes said then.
His voice faded as he pondered how Roger probably had only a year or two remaining-years that he hoped they would be happy.
"He's my best friend," Barnes said. "He is my son, and I love him very much."