Lolong, the world's largest captive crocodile, dies in the Philippines

Residents from nearby towns watch Lolong, a one-ton, 21-foot crocodile believed to be the biggest to have ever been caught, in a caged pen in the southern Philippine town of Bunawan on September 21, 2011. Getty Images

Updated 11:17 p.m. ET

MANILA, Philippines The world's largest crocodile in captivity, Lolong, has died. Mayor Edwin Elorde of Bulawan, a small town in the southern Philippines that had been home to the giant croc, made the announcement Sunday.

In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, Mayor Cox Elorde of Bunawan township, Agusan del Sur Province, pretends to measure a huge crocodile which was captured by residents and crocodile farm staff along a creek in Bunawan late Saturday in southern Philippines.
AP Photo

There was an immediate outpouring of grief among social media users, with some Filipinos even suggesting that the country declare a national day of mourning in honor of Lolong's memory.

Lolong rose to worldwide fame in September 2011 after a three-week hunt due to a spate of attacks on local residents ended in its capture. The sheer size of Lolong - who measured 20 feet and four inches and weighed an estimated one ton - captivated people all over the world and made it an instant celebrity.

The local government had since kept Lolong in captivity at a wildlife sanctuary in the hopes of boosting tourism, but the hype surrounding the giant reptile - believed to be around 50 years old - had since subsided.

According to a spokesperson from the mayor's office, Lolong swallowed a nylon cord three weeks ago. That's when he started having chronic diarrhea, after which, his stomach started swelling. His official cause of death, however, is still unknown.

  • Barnaby Lo

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