‘Pet Sematary’ Star Leo the Cat Dies Just Weeks After Film’s Release

Leo the Cat, who starred in 2019’s Pet Sematary remake, has died.

Animal trainer and Leo’s adopted owner Kirk Jarrett confirmed the news Wednesday on the Instagram account dedicated to the feline, who portrayed the undead version of Church in the film remake of Stephen King’s classic horror novel.

“It is with great sadness that we tell you that Leo has passed away. He will forever be missed by his human and fur family. May his star always shine bright,” wrote Jarrett, who had adopted Leo after filming on the film wrapped.

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News of Leo the Cat’s passing was met with dozens of comments from the account’s more than 16,000 followers.

“I'm so incredibly sorry,” one person wrote. “Definitely gone too soon. I can only hope, in the end, he was at peace. He was the absolute highlight of Pet Semetary.”

“I'm so sorry, he will live on in cat heaven,” added another.

“There’s always the Pet Sematary. So hintity hint hint lol,” a third added, referencing the land in the film that brings the dead back to life. “For real tho that’s sad. I’ll remember him for his awesome performance in Pet Sematary. RIP Leo. You were an awesome Church.”

Leo was among four different cats used during the shooting of Pet Sematary, though his face was the most recognizable, as his face was the one chosen to appear on posters for the film.

“Leo is a confident sit-stay cat. His role is as the undead Church; that was his whole purpose, to be the poster child,” Jarrett had told the AV Club in April. “he cat you see all across the different platforms, and in the trailer, almost any time he’s in in the undead makeup—that was Leo.”

Fellow animal trainer Melissa Millett added that it was the Maine Coon’s unique look that helped him land the role.

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“Part of it was that he’s just got such a cool look, different from any other cat I’ve seen. He’s got this beautiful face, and these eyes that are so expressive,” she said. “But during the training phase, you look at yourself as a coach, and you figure out the strengths of all your team members. We did end up using Leo for almost all of the undead stuff.”

Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name and starring Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz, Pet Sematary follows a family’s move to the countryside, where the discovery of a pet cemetery that exists on ancient burial grounds sets in motion a terrifying chain of tragic events.

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