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Tommie, the dog who was tied to a pole and set on fire, has died

Tommie, a pit bull who captured hearts across the country after he was tied to a pole in a Virginia park and set on fire, died Friday morning, Richmond Animal Care and Control announced on Facebook.

"I'm so very sorry to say that Tommie just passed away," the post said. "He had just finished having his bandages changed and stopped breathing; his body simply gave out."

The shelter said Tommie was "pain free" when he died. "Needless to say, we are all devastated and angry and sad and terribly disappointed," the posted added.  

Richmond firefighters found Tommie tied to a pole, covered in accelerant and intentionally set on fire in Richmond's Abner Clay Park on Sunday evening. The shelter said witnesses saw an adult male suspect who was wearing multiple layers of pants run from the scene.

Tommie was treated for burns to over 40 percent of his body at Virginia Veterinary Centers. Thousands of people in central Virginia and across the country followed his progress through social media updates provided by Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC), CBS affiliate WTVR reported

Hopes were raised for his ultimate survival Thursday when RACC posted a photo of Tommie up and about, walking away from his bed. 

"Fingers crossed for this forward momentum to continue," the shelter said Thursday on Facebook. "We are not out the danger zone yet, but for today, we win!"

The shelter initially offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. But after Tommie's story went viral, individual donations and pledges from partners like The Humane Society of the United States started pouring in and the reward increased to $25,000.

"We remain steadfast in our dedication to find the person now responsible for Tommie's death," RACC wrote Friday.  

"I'm so very sorry that we couldn't save Tommie but I'm confident that we did everything we possibly could and that he felt true love and compassion for the time that he was in our care," RACC said.