Shrek the celebrity sheep dies

New Zealand's most famous sheep was put down this morning.

Shrek the merino wether, a castrated male sheep, gained international fame in April 2004 after he was found in an Otago cave.

He had evaded muster for six years and carried 27kg worth of fleece, TVNZ reported tonight. An average merino fleece weighs about 4.5kg.

He became the subject of a book and was taken to Parliament to meet then-prime minster Helen Clark.

Shortly after his capture Shrek was sheared on live TV, and two and a half years later shorn again on an iceberg floating off the coast of Dunedin.

The wool raised money for the charity Cure Kids and the pictures were worth an estimated $100 million in worldwide publicity for the export industry.

Shrek was euthanased on veterinary advice at Bendigo Station this morning.

He would have turned 17 this year.