An icon of the Berlin Zoo, Knut was born, along with another cub to a former circus performer, Tosca, after a successful breeding with another bear on loan from another zoo. Unfortunately it was rejected by its mother Tosca at birth, and left at an enclosure to fend for itself.
Zookeepers later rescued the two cubs by scooping them out of the enclosure, with one dying four days after its birth. The one that survived, however, wormed its way into the public hearts and for a while, Knut-mania was alive as people bought Knut-related merchandise.
Sadly, this came to an end in March 2011 when the bear died collapsed and died in its enclosure, after falling into the pool. Although at that time numerous theories as to why the bear died prematurely were discussed, the zoo concluded the bear died from drowning after suffering a virus-induced seizure. Knut's death caused an outpouring of grief from Germans, with many going to the zoo to leave tributes for it.