Clinton's loyal Buddy is mown down by car

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Buddy, Bill Clinton's brown retriever and the loyal companion that stood by the former president through his many scandals more faithfully than some of his friends, has died after being hit by a car.

The four-year-old dog, which used to be seen bounding around the White House grounds, was struck close to the property in Chappaqua, New York, that Mr Clinton shares with his wife, Hillary. Whether Buddy was being walked at the time of the incident on Wednesday afternoon or whether he had wandered off on his own was not immediately clear.

"He was a loyal companion and brought us much joy," the Clinton family said in a statement issued through a spokeswoman. "He will be truly missed."

Sgt Charles Ferry, of New Castle police in New York state, said: "His dog was hit by a car. We received a call yesterday afternoon." Police are satisfied that the driver, who has not been named, hit the dog accidentally when it ran into the road.

Mr Clinton – having noted the old adage among politicians that "if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog" – took the newly born Buddy into the White House in December 1997. The dog became an instant celebrity and even had his own official fan club.

At the time Mr Clinton asked the public for suggestions for a name for his new pet and received 5,000 replies – most of which suggested the name of the famous chocolate bar Hershey. Buddy was eventually chosen in memory of one of Mr Clinton's uncles.