It's a sad day for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. Oreo the raccoon, the real-life model for Rocket in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has passed away. He was nine years old. The announcement was made through the official Guardians Facebook page this morning. According to the post, Oreo passed away peacefully after a "short illness." No other details have been provided, but everybody who worked with the raccoon are understandably devastated.

In addition to being the model for Rocket, Oreo the Raccoon walked down the red carpet for Guardians of the Galaxy with director James Gunn. Mr. Oreo Raccoon, as he was called on set, was a pretty amazing animal who had many talents. He was a lot more than just the guy that Rocket stole all of his moves from. You can read a portion of the statement released on the Guardians Facebook below.

"Oreo you made so many people's lives happy. You have been an amazing ambassador for raccoons everywhere. You loved all people of all ages and other animals too and were never phased by anything be it a walk down the red carpet as Rocket Raccoon, a trip to a hospice to visit a sick child or anything else that came your way. You just enjoyed everything and it showed. You instinctively knew when to calm, when to be bouncy and we never worried that you would do the wrong thing because you never did. You were perfect."

The Guardians of the Galaxy team were able to get Oreo early on in his life. Apparently his trainers were able to get him when he was first born because his mother could not produce milk. They chose Oreo out of the litter because he was able to drink from a bottle before his siblings. Since then, he has been a loyal companion and an animal who brought a lot of love and joy into the lives of others.

James Gunn posted a lot of pictures of himself with Mr. Oreo Raccoon while they were making Guardians of the Galaxy. As it turns out, Oreo was one of the only tame raccoons near where the movie was filming, so it was meant to be. Oreo was only two days old when he was adopted and he had a small chance of survival since he needed to be watched and fed so much. Pictures show that he could fit into the palm of a human hand when he was first born.

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Before appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy, Oreo the raccoon showed up on U.K. television shows and was also the model for the cover of a nature book. However, even with his A-list status, Mr. Oreo never let the success go to his head. Apparently, he was still into "making new friends and teaching people about exotic animal care" after his stint in the MCU. Oreo is survived by his sister Anoushka, his niece Podge, and his friends Harvey and Biggles. This news was first reported by the Guardians of the Galaxy Facebook page. Rest In Peace, Mr. Oreo Raccoon.

Kevin Burwick