Prince William and Kate Middleton share their heartbreak as beloved family dog Lupo dies

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Prince William and Kate Middleton have been left heartbroken as their beloved dog Lupo has died.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 38, who are reportedly seeking housekeeping who will "maintain confidentiality", announced the sad news on their Instagram account, Kensington Royal, earlier this afternoon.

Sharing a gorgeous picture of the stunning black English cocker spaniel, the couple wrote in the caption: "Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away.

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"He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much. – W & C".

Many of their 12.1million followers flocked to the comment section to offer their condolences as one person wrote: "I'm so sorry, it is so difficult to lose a beloved pet."

Another said: "Oh, my heart! So very sorry for your loss. Dogs are the most precious creatures."

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While a third added: "So sorry did your loss… animals are not pets they become family."

Lupo has been an integral part of the family and holds a special place in Kate's heart as he was bred from her parents Michael and Carole's own dog Ella.

He was born in a litter back in 2011 and was given to the the royal couple as Christmas gift that same year.

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Lupo has appeared in several photographs alongside the family and was also the inspiration of a children's book called The Adventures of Lupo the Royal Dog: The Secret of Windsor Castle, written by Aby King.

The canine companion was so loved by the family that Prince William, who recently spoke out on a new probe into how the BBC secure their infamous Princess Diana interview, referenced the dog in his first official interview after welcoming his son George in 2013.

Prince William told CNN: "For me, Catherine, and now little George, are my priorities. And Lupo.

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"He’s coping all right, actually.

"As a lot of people know who have got dogs and are bringing newborn back, they take a little bit of time to adapt, but no, he’s been all right so far."

Lupo even helped choose the name for George after the couple scattered pieces of paper with various names on the floor and chose the name he stopped in front of.

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