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Shrek the renegade sheep leaves legacy

Published: 12:09PM Tuesday June 07, 2011 Source: ONE News

The owner of New Zealand's most famous sheep hopes his legacy will create even greater support for charities.

Shrek the sheep was put down, aged 16, at the weekend, after his health deteriorated.

He shot to fame in 2004 after he was found in a cave in Central Otago, having avoided the shearing shed for six years and growing a 27kg fleece.

He was shorn live on TV, including on CNN, raising money for charity, and went on to become a household name.

"He was just an ordinary sheep, went AWOL and hid and when he was found he became the darling of the nation," John Perriam told TV ONE's Breakfast.

"He was really quite a renegade and that came through later on as the years went on.

"He had an unbelievable personality. He loved children and he was really good with the elderly in retirement homes."

Shrek spent the last seven years in his own complex on the Bendigo station that is "probably the size of a lot of people's homes".

"It's a bit strange to come out this morning and he's not here anymore because we fed him in the morning and the evening and the last three weeks he had a permanent caregiver," Perriam said.

The sheep created a lot of interest from the media and, with help from corporate sponsors, Shrek was able to travel the world, clocking up more air miles than most New Zealanders, Perriam said.

"It's been a fantastic journey and it's led us into the world of giving alongside Cure Kids.

"We will continue on. It's been a family thing for us, he has basically completely changed the way we think about things and being involved in charities it gives you a deep sense of satisfaction."

A series of popular children's books featuring Shrek will continue to help raise funds for the Cure Kids charity which helps children with life-threatening illnesses.

Shrek is to be cremated and his ashes will be scattered at the summit of Mount Cook.