Monty Don announces death of his dog and 'old friend' Nigel

British broadcaster and horticulturalist Monty Don poses with his medal after being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to broadcasting and charity during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on December 20, 2018. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/AFP via Getty Images)

Monty Don has announced the death of his golden retriever Nigel after the dog was "suddenly taken ill".

Nigel won legions of fans from his appearances in BBC Two's Gardeners' World where he could be seen following Don around along with the presenter's other dog, Nellie.

The 64-year-old posted a photo of Nigel to his Instagram as he revealed the sad news to his followers.

Read more: Actor Jerry Stiller dies at the age of 92

The touching caption read: “I am very sorry to announce that Nigel has died.

"To the end he was happy, healthy and his usual calm, lovely self. But he was suddenly taken ill and he slipped quietly away with no pain or suffering and is now buried in the garden with lots of tennis balls.

"Rest now old friend. See you in the sweet bye and bye."

Nigel's popularity on the TV show saw him receive fan mail, social media fan accounts and he also appeared in the title of Don's book, Nigel: My Family And Other Dogs.

Last year, Don told fans that Nigel underwent surgery to remove growths from his mouth.

He wrote at the time: "It all went well, he is fine - if a bit sore - will have a quiet weekend and be ready for filming next week. He will, of course, play the starring role in tonight’s GW."

The broadcaster also shared the news of Nigel's death to Twitter, where he was met with messages of condolence.

Reverend Richard Coles replied: "Lovely boy. What a blessing. Condolences from me, Monty."

While BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth responded: "Oh Monty! So sorry x."

"How grim to hear. Sorry Monty. He was a much loved part of the GW experience," shared BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker.