Marty the cat is seen just after sunrise atop Mount Washington. Marty has died after 12 years as the mountain's mascot. Credit: Courtesy of the Mount Washington Observatory

Marty the cat, a beloved Maine coon who served as the Mount Washington Observatory’s mascot for more than a decade, has died.

The jet black feline has lived and played atop Mount Washington for 12 years after he was adopted from the North Conway Area Humane Society, according to the Mount Washington Observatory, which announced his death on Monday.

“It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we have to share the news of Marty’s passing due to an unforeseen illness,” Summit Operations Manager Rebecca Scholand said. “As a past observer who lived on the summit for four years I can tell you Marty was a special companion, entertainer and so incredibly loved by observers and state park staff and will be sadly missed.”

Marty was chosen as the observatory’s mascot on Jan. 8, 2008, the same day New Hampshire voters decided their Republican and Democratic presidential primaries. He was elected with 53 percent of the vote, beating his fellow feline contenders Wilson and Sarah, who took 26 percent and 21 percent of the vote, respectively, according to

It was the observatory’s first election to select its feline mascot, and more than 8,000 votes were cast, according to the observatory.

He replaced Nin, a black and white cat, who served visitors and staff at the observatory for 12 years before retiring in December 2007. Marty was scheduled to retire from his post at the observatory in early 2021.

Cats have been a constant presence atop Mount Washington since the 1930s, when the observatory opened as a weather station, according to the Appalachian Mountain Club. The felines originally kept the station free of mice, but later came to be loved for their companionship during weather observers’ long stays on the summit.

A successor will be named for Marty at an unspecified time, according to the observatory.

Mount Washington at 6,288 feet is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi and north of the Carolinas. It is renowned for its wild weather, including a record-high wind speed of 231 mph measured on April 12, 1934.