Near the end of the 1994 movie "The Shawshank Redemption," Morgan Freeman's character Red sits underneath the branches of a magnificent oak tree to read a letter written by his friend, Andy, played by Tim Robbins.

"Remember Red," the letter reads, "hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

That stately white oak, which had become an international tourism destination in Mansfield, Ohio, was knocked over by heavy winds.

Jodie Snavely, group tour manager for the Mansfield and Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, went out to see the downed tree, after her office got a call from a man who said he saw the famous oak tumble.

"Sure enough it was down," she told the Plain Dealer. "People are going to be heartbroken. It's extremely sad."

Shawshank tree damaged by storm Seen here in happier days, about half the oak was destroyed in a storm in 2011. (Photo: Raln0975/flickr)

The tree was already damaged, having been hit by a storm five years ago. Then about half the tree was destroyed, Snavely said.

The tree could have been as many as 200 years old, according to Snavely. It was a featured stop along The Shawshank Trail, a self-guided tour of more than a dozen sites in north central Ohio linked to the film. As many as 35,000 people visit those sites each year, Snavely says.

Some fans took to social media to share their thoughts on the tree's passing.

Mary Jo DiLonardo Mary Jo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.