TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (CBS NEWS)Piper the airport dog, who went viral on social media last year for his work protecting planes from bird strikes in Michigan, has died. He was 9 years old.

The Border Collie’s partner, Brian Edwards, paid tribute to Piper on Instagram Wednesday, explaining his beloved four-legged friend succumbed to a year-long battle with prostate cancer.

“It is with the ultimate sadness I must report the passing of my best friend and love of my life,” Edwards wrote. “He fought valiantly, and we did everything we could, but sometimes life just has to take its course.”

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