A little bear that stole many people’s hearts after being rescued from a Cape Breton highway has died suddenly.

Two Rivers Wildlife Park posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying Little Bear passed away Monday afternoon.

“Little Bear was noticed not to be himself on Friday,” said park staff. “We immediately took him into Sydney Animal Hospital where he underwent minor exploratory surgery. All the necessary precautions were taken and we had expected a full and fast recovery. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst."

The park says a necropsy will be performed to determine a cause of death.

Little Bear was just a few weeks old when he first arrived at the wildlife park in poor health in May 2016 after being found abandoned on a highway near Whycocomagh, N.S.

After six months of fundraising, Maritimers came up with $40,000 to ensure Little Bear would have a comfortable new enclosure at the park.

Little Bear moved into his new enclosure last month and was drawing big crowds to the park. It was hoped that he would befriend a four-month-old black bear named Natalie, who was rescued under similar circumstances.