IN PICTURES: Charlie the sea otter’s fans say a final farewell at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Charlie the sea otter was famous.

Over the span of his 20-year stay at the Aquarium of the Pacific, about 40 million people saw him, according to Michele Sousa, assistant curator of mammals and birds at the aquarium.

Sunday, some of the fans who met him during his unusually long lifetime came back once more to pay a final tribute.

Tim Dietrich and his son Jack, 3, fill out a card for Charlie. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

Charlie was 22 when he died on April 22. He was the oldest living southern sea otter at any zoo or aquarium, so old that the Guinness Book of World Records recognized him for the feat. Male southern sea otters typically live 10 to 14 years.

On Sunday, visitors to the aquarium filled out cards and placed them along the railing of the sea otter habitat in Charlie’s memory.

Charlie. Photo courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Sarah Aguilar, of Long Beach, said she and husband, also named Charlie, came to pay tribute.

“I wrote him a little card that basically said that you will always be loved, you will never be forgotten,” she said.

Charlie Aguilar and wife Sarah, of Long Beach, visit the sea otter habitat. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

The couple came to see Charlie (the otter) four or five times last year.

“Charlie will definitely be deeply missed, and I hope he’s in a better place and everything.” Aguilar said. “I wish he was still here, but, you know, he had a long 22 years of life, and I hope he’s swimming in a beautiful big blue sea.”

Michele Sousa, assistant curator of mammals and birds, pauses at the sea otter habitat at the Aquarium of the Pacific. She worked with Charlie for 20 years. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

Visitors pause at the sea otter habitat at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

Danielle Vandewyngaerde, of Long Beach, and her daughter Addison, 1. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

Jerry Corpuz, left, of Long Beach, places a card along the railing in Charlie’s memory. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

Visitors watch the otters. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

Many made cards and left their best wishes for Charlie. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

Charlie, a southern sea otter, passed away at the age of 22. He lived a long life, so long that he was recognized last year by the Guinness Book of World Records. Photo by Ed Crisostomo.

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