Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane said he killed off debonair dog Brian to remind people that the ribald cartoon series is still a show where "anything can happen".
Speaking to the Television Critics Association, he said: "It did what it was designed to do - it reminded people this is still a show where anything can happen despite the fact it’s been on for awhile."
The writer/actor, who is working on upcoming Fox astronomy documentary Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, added: "We were all very surprised, in a good way, that people still cared enough about that character to be that angry. We thought it would create a little bit of a stir, but the rage wasn’t something we counted on."
You can see the classy canine going to the great gin and tonic bar in the sky below but woof! woof! the good news is that he comes back to life in an episode aired late last year called Brian Lives.