"World's Ugliest Dog", Zsa Zsa, has died

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Zsa Zsa died in her sleep, according to her owner, Megan Brainard of Anoka, Minnesota, who called the pup's death "devastating". The dog was 9 years old.

The victor of this year's World's Ugliest Dog Contest had always been a fighter; Zsa Zsa spent her first five years of life in a puppy mill in Missouri before she was saved by the nonprofit Underdog Rescue.

"I'm in shock still", Brainard told CNN sister network HLN.

Zsa Zsa, an English bulldog, stands on stage after winning The World's Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, north of San Francisco, California. "It's probably going to be the same with her passing".

Then her fortune charges on June 23, when she and Brainard won $1,500, "a very large trophy" and a flight to NY to appear on "Today". "We were all saying our goodbyes". Her owner was awarded $1,500 for Zsa Zsa's win.

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Recent updates from Brainard have shown Zsa Zsa being doted on by children - who also took on the job of brushing the dog's jutting teeth.

Ms Brainard said children used to sometimes shake that tongue as if giving a handshake to a paw.

The newly-crowned World's Ugliest Dog has died. "She never really showed much excitement but yes, she was definitely living it up after she won".

"From the moment we saw her lovely face, we knew we would be her forever home", Brainard said.

Zsa Zsa's family held a farewell ceremony for her in their back yard.

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