Celebrity Dog 'Lucky' Dies of Cancer

Lucky Diamond Productions, Inc/AP Photo

A lucky canine who began her life in an animal shelter and went on to become the world's most-photographed dog with celebrities has died of cancer.

Lucky Diamond, a 15-year-old Maltese, passed away Tuesday in her New York City home with her owner, celebrity animal activist and TV personality Wendy Diamond, by her side.

"I rescued Lucky but in retrospect Lucky rescued me and gave me the greatest gift - a purpose in life," Diamond told Goodmorningamerica.com in an email today.

Click HERE to see more photos of Lucky.

Diamond rescued Lucky from an animal shelter in 1999 and was then inspired to found the Animal Fair charity to help other homeless pets.

As the face of Animal Fair for over a decade, Lucky became a celebrity in her own right, especially after Diamond began photographing the dog with the A-list stars she ran into at red carpet events.  The photos, cataloged in the " Who Got Lucky?" column on the charity's website, earned Lucky a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the "Animal Most Photographed with Celebrities," with more than 360 photo of everyone from Betty White to Barbara Walters.

Lucky was diagnosed with spleen cancer in February and given just three months to a year to live.  But as early as last month, when interviewed for a story on Lucky, Diamond said the dog was cancer free on her last ultrasound, thanks to a refined diet and care from one of the top animal oncologists in the world.

"You would look at her and never imagine that she has cancer," Diamond told Goodmorningamerica.com at the time.  "Lucky is doing phenomenal. Every day with her is a blessing."

Because Lucky's particular type of cancer had only a 5 percent survival rate, however, Diamond had launched an online competition in which anyone could enter their dogs to marry Lucky and, eventually, carry on her legacy as the face of the Animal Fair charity.

She was  planning an over-the-top "fairy-tale wedding" for Lucky next month at Manhattan's ritzy Jumeirah Essex House hotel that was to include a seven-piece orchestra, doggie buffet, dog ring-bearer and dog flower girl.  Proceeds from the $250 per person, black-tie gala were to benefit the Humane Society of New York.

The wedding will go on but will also include a celebration of Lucky's life, an Animal Fair spokeswoman said today.  Diamond has plans to adopt a new dog so the wedding will now take place between the to-be-adopted dog and the winning groom.

"The groom will join Wendy's new dog in the legacy of Lucky's life in promoting animal rescue and welfare and now the future couple will add animal cancer to their causes," said the spokeswoman, adding that more than 300 dogs have already applied to the competition.

Potential spouses can still apply online at Diamond and Lucky's Facebook page, or at animalfair.com. Diamond will announce the winner on June 28, two weeks before the wedding.