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Image: Leona Helmsley and her dog Trouble
Jennifer Graylock  /  AP file
Leona Helmsley and her dog, Trouble, in 2003. The pampered Maltese inherited $12 million from his doting mistress.
TODAY staff and wire
updated 6/9/2011 11:49:05 AM ET 2011-06-09T15:49:05

Trouble, the beloved Maltese of billionaire Leona Helmsley who became an international celebrity when Helmsley died and left him $12 million, has died. The pampered pooch was 12 — 84 in dog years.

And despite Helmsley’s request, Trouble will not be interred next to her. The late real estate mogul who reportedly once sniffed that “only the little people pay taxes” wanted the dog next to her in her cozy 12,000-square-foot family mausoleum in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery north of New York City, but a member of the cemetery’s board told the New York Daily News that regulations forbid it. Instead, the pooch has been cremated.

Despite his millions, Trouble had been troubled in his later years; the dog was blind and feeble when he died, sources told the Daily News. That's not to mention the dozens of death and kidnapping threats he received, according to a spokesman for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which receives the balance of the funds set aside for Trouble’s care. That care reportedly included $8,000 a year for grooming, $1,200 for food, and a full-time bodyguard.

Originally purchased at a Manhattan pet shop to console Helmsley after the death of her husband, Harry, the impeccably groomed and garbed Maltese was accustomed to traveling among his mistress’s many properties via stretch limousine and private jet. In contrast, Helmsley scorned two of her own grandchildren in her will.

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After Helmsley’s death in 2007, the dog retired to Florida, where he was cared for by the manager of a Helmsley hotel in Sarasota, the Daily News reported.

Despite his millions, Trouble was not the richest dog in the world. Technically that distinction belongs to Gunther IV, a German dog left $372 million by his owner, reports Business Insider. Other mogul mutts include Miss Charlie Brown, an English cocker spaniel in South Dakota who stands to inherit $130 million from her mineral magnate owners.

In addition, Oprah Winfrey’s will is rumored to have earmarked $30 million for the care of her pups.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive

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