Berlin's polar bear cub Fritz, heir to Knut, dies in zoo

BERLIN (Reuters) - A four-month-old polar bear cub born in captivity in Berlin has died of complications from a liver inflammation, officials at the city’s Tierpark zoo said on Tuesday.

Named after a contest that drew more than 10,000 entries from Germany and around the world, Fritz had been celebrated across the nation as an heir to Knut, who was born in a rival Berlin zoo in 2006.

Knut turned into a global sensation for surviving against long odds when he was rejected by his mother at birth. He was reared by keepers but died in 2011.

“We’re speechless, saddened and depressed,” said Tierpark zoo director Andreas Knieriem of Fritz’s death. “It’s astonishing how the little polar bear captivated our hearts.”

Reporting by Joachim Herrmann; writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by John Stonestreet