Britain’s tallest cow has died from arthritis.

Chilli, a Friesian steer, was 6ft 6in tall and weighed more than ton. He was put to sleep by vets because his arthritis had become too painful.

Visitors from around the world flocked to see Chilli at his home at Ferne Animal Sanctuary, near Chard in Somerset, after he became a media phenomenon in May last year.

Sanctuary manager Naomi Clarke said he had been left at the sanctuary’s gates as a six-day-old calf in 1999.

“We don’t know what has made him so tall,” she told the Telegraph at the time. “He doesn’t eat that much and his sister Jubilee is only 6ft in comparison.

“Chilli’s feet and head are in proportion, he is just very large, very friendly and gentle cow.”

In a statement, the sanctuary said Chilli’s size had proved to be his disadvantage.

“His joints were just not strong enough to cope with his weight and they became more and more arthritic.

“On our vet’s advice he was put to sleep and this has, literally, left a very large hole in everyone’s life here.”