He was a gentle giant, but his mom remembers him much more for all the love he gave.

Some unfortunate news this Friday: Great Dane Freddy, the world's tallest male dog who began his life as the runt of his litter, has died at age 8.  

Freddy staked his claim as the tallest living dog in 2016 when Guinness World Records measured his height at a staggering 103.5 centimeters (3 feet, 4 inches). Standing on his hind legs, Freddy stood at a massive 226 centiments (7 feet, 5.5 inches)—taller than even the tallest NBA players. 

great dane sits on couch in living room
Credit: Guinness World Records

But Freddy was much, much more than just the tallest of the tall dogs, especially to his mom, Claire Stoneman of Essex, England. To her, he had the biggest heart and "the most love," she told Guinness. 

"He was my life. My reason. My joy. My annoyance. My happiness and my ultimate sadness. He was my heart Dane. My one in a million and loved by the entire world," she said.

Freddy was far from a gentle giant at the beginning of his life. Stoneman said she brought him home as the runt of the litter. He wasn't even feeding from his mother. Of course, he didn't take long to nearly catch up to his 5-foot-4 human mom, Stoneman. 

Listening to his daily diet, you can see why: 1 kilogram of minced beef, 250 grams of casserole steak, and roughly 300 grams of liver. (Stoneman described the diet to On Demand News in December 2016.) 

Freddy also lived with his Great Dane sister Fleur. Together, the puppy siblings destroyed 26 sofas before realizing they were actually nice to rest on. He loved a good paw massage and being hand-fed by Stoneman.

"I still can barely believe that he was the runt of the litter," Guinness World Records' Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said in a statement. "Freddy brought a smile to everyone's face and will be missed by every[one] at Guinness World Records. I'm just pleased that we got the chance to celebrate his record-breaking immensity in the books and share his story with millions of people around the world. RIP, Freddy."

The record for the tallest dog ever belongs to Zues, a Great Dane who lived in Michigan. He measured 44 inches tall.