A Great Dane named Zeus who held title of world’s tallest dog died of old age just two months shy of his sixth birthday.

Zeus lived in Michigan with his owners, Kevin and Denise Doorlag, and was named tallest dog in the 2013 edition of the Guinness World Records.

The Great Dane stood 44 inches tall at the shoulder and 7 feet 4 inches on his hind legs, enabling him to easily reach the kitchen counter.

The Doorlags adopted Zues when he was just 8 weeks old.

“We got him from this couple that had had a litter and we went and looked at him and fell in love with him,” Kevin told ABC News.

Zeus, a certified therapy dog, was a local celebrity in his town where he frequently visited schools and hospitals.

“He’d sit on people’s laps. I loved to see people’s reactions when he’d sit down,” Kevin said. “He just seemed to want to make people smile, and he was just a very sweet dog.”

Before Zeus set the new world record, the world’s tallest dog was Giant George, another Great Dane, who stood just one inch shorter than Zeus. Giant George died last year at the age of 7.

Large dogs often die younger than smaller ones. Great Danes have an average life span of about seven years, while toy poodles can live twice as long.

Research shows that large dogs actually age faster than small ones.

A German study that analyzed ages at death in 74 dog breeds concluded that an increase of 4.4 pounds in body mass leads to a loss of about one month of a canine’s life expectancy.

You can see just how tall Zeus really was in the video below.

Laura Moss ( @laurajmoss ) writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Zeus, the world's tallest dog, has died
The 5-year-old Great Dane stood 44 inches tall at the shoulder.