Columbus Police horse Willie dies at 24

Willie, who passed at 24, was an 11-year veteran of the Columbus Police Mounted Unit. (Credit: Columbus Division of Police)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A veteran of the Columbus police force died hours after Columbus police said it was in critical condition days after he had a tumor removed.

Willie, a 24-year-old Saddlebred, was hospitalized at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center after veterinarians removed a large tumor wrapped around his colon, which was blocking the flow of his food.

Police said the 11-year veteran showed signs of improvement, but his health took a turn for the worse on Wednesday. He died around 6:20 p.m., according to police.

While officers mourn the loss of Willie, they are thinking about all he accomplished for the department.

"I was about to write a retirement letter for Willie last year but he is one of the strongest, he is the strongest, horse we ever had. We needed him for the RNC Convention," said Sgt. Robert Forsythe supervisor of CPD's Mounted Unit.

Willie is one of 10 horses with the force's Mounted Unit.

According to officers, Willie was probably the second longest horse within the division. He attended almost every event for the city, including Red, White and Boom.

Willie and his partner were credited with discovering the body of a missing 14-month-old boy abandoned by his mother in December of 2014.

German Village was Willie's favorite place because that's where he liked to get carrots, police said.

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