‘Your spirit inspired us all’: Spencer, beloved Boston Marathon dog, dies after battle with cancer

BOSTON — Spencer, a golden retriever known for his inspirational support of Boston Marathon runners, has died after a long and difficult battle with cancer.

Spencer’s family confirmed Tuesday that the “Official Dog of the Boston Marathon” passed away in their home on Friday.

“We were loaned an incredible gift in 2009 and we had to return the gift last Friday,” said Richard Powers, Spencer’s owner. “He spent his last day doing for himself, eating his sweet potato treats, drinking water and enjoying visitors.”

Spencer, your spirit and determination inspired us all. We'll miss you, and are proud to call you a friend and forever the Official Dog of the Boston Marathon.💙💛

Posted by Boston Marathon on Tuesday, February 21, 2023

“We at the B.A.A. are saddened to learn of the passing of one of our dearest and most loyal Boston Marathon supporters, Spencer,” a spokesperson for the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement. “Spencer annually encouraged participants in Ashland, embodying the unwavering spirit of Boston’s athletes as he showed up year after year regardless of the weather conditions. We were honored to have recognized Spencer as the Official Dog of the Boston Marathon in 2022, and extend our condolences to the Powers family, sister Penny, and his many friends and admirers around the world.”

The 13-year-old dog has gone through a number of health battles since 2020 when he miraculously survived a near-rupture of a benign tumor between his liver and spleen. Spencer later underwent surgery and chemotherapy after a cancerous tumor was discovered on his spleen in 2021.

Doctors said Spencer’s cancer was in remission in the spring of 2022 and he was named the official dog of the 126th Boston Marathon. Powers said he learned of Spencer’s new diagnosis in October, prompting him to connect with the Pittsburgh-based Mosser to commission a portrait of Spencer famously holding the marathon flags.

“Our boy is about to turn onto Heartbreak Hill and is heading to his own finish line,” an emotional Powers said while speaking at the ceremony. “He’s doing very well, he still does his walks...But his days are limited. We’re not sure how long he’s going to be here, so we reached out to Tom.”

On January 4th Spencer was honored with a massive portrait as he continued to battle terminal cancer.

During a special ceremony at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, artist Tom Mosser revealed a gigantic painting of Spencer that shows the beloved pup holding his favorite “We are Boston Strong” flag. Spencer’s finished painting resides in his owner Richard Powers’ home in Holliston.

Spencer first went viral in 2018 when braved rainy weather to cheer on runners at his favorite spot along the 26.2-mile route near Ashland State Park. A video of him dressed in a raincoat with the flags in his mouth was widely shared by news outlets across the country.

Remember Spencer? At last year's Boston Marathon, he endured harsh weather and cheered people on! He will be back again...

Posted by Boston 25 News on Monday, April 15, 2019

“He has been an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people. He was an angel on earth. Anyone who had the good fortune to actually meet him in person can attest that when you touched him he emitted pure energy and light,” said Powers.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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