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'Falling Bear,' We Hardly Knew You; Famous Bruin Killed On Highway

It was just a week ago that he dropped into our lives.

Now, we're sorry to report that "falling bear" is dead.

In case you're not familiar with the story, it was April 26 when University of Colorado Boulder student Andy Duann snapped a shot of a tranquilized bear as it was falling from a tree on campus.

The bear survived and was released back into the wild about 50 miles from Boulder.

Duann's photo, meanwhile, went viral. And "falling bear" inspired the creation of a Facebook page and a Twitter hashtag (#fallingbear).

But early Thursday, the bear "met a tragic death ... in the Denver-bound lanes of U.S. 36.," the Daily Camera reports. Two cars struck him. One of the drivers suffered minor injuries. The bear was identified by a tag placed on his ear after the on-campus encounter.

"It's a bummer," Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, tells the Daily Camera.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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