Bob the cat, whose special role in James Bowen's personal journey was written about in bestseller A Street Cat Named Bob, has died, having reached over 14 years of age.
Long credited by Bowen with saving his life, Bob died on Monday (15th June).
Bowen, a recovering addict, first met Bob in 2007 when he found him abandoned and injured. He went on to take care of Bob who in turn gave him a reason to get up each morning. They quickly became inseparable, busking and selling The Big Issue on the streets of London.
In 2012 Hodder & Stoughton published Bowen's first book, A Street Cat Named Bob, telling his and Bob’s story. The book became a bestseller, along with its sequels The World According to Bob, A Gift from Bob and The Little Book of Bob. In all the books sold eight million copies in more than 40 languages, according to Hodder, with Nielsen BookScan recording for the UK sales of 1.29 million books for £8.18m.
The original story was also made into a film released in 2016 starring Luke Treadaway as Bowen. Bob appeared in the film as himself and will appear in a sequel, "A Gift from Bob", later this year.
Hodder released a statement: "As James and Bob continued to find fans all over the world, Bob led an incredible life meeting well-wishers at book signings, travelling the world and coping with feline fame. He was an extraordinary cat who will be greatly missed."
Bowen said: "Bob saved my life. It’s as simple as that. He gave me so much more than companionship. With him at my side, I found a direction and purpose that I’d been missing. The success we achieved together through our books and films was miraculous. He’s met thousands of people, touched millions of lives. There’s never been a cat like him. And never will again.
"I feel like the light has gone out in my life. I will never forget him."