Taraji P. Henson's dog of 16 years has died.

Taraji P. Henson's dog Uncle Willie (c) Instagram

Taraji P. Henson's dog Uncle Willie (c) Instagram

The 47-year-old actress has been left heartbroken after her beloved pet pooch Uncle Willie - who is believed to be a Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese cross breed - sadly lost his life on Thursday (05.10.17) following a long, happy and healthy life for her.

Taking to her Instagram account, the 'Empire' star uploaded a photograph of her furry friend alongside the caption: "Although I understand NOTHING lasts forever the pain is still very real. #RipUncleWillie He made it 16 long years. He truly was #BenjaminButton I will miss you soooooooooo much!!! (sic)."

The brunette beauty then shared a series of collages - featuring her and her canine having a cuddle - made by her fans and thanked them for their sweet messages.

The 'No Good Deed' star then dug through her archive to find a picture of her and Uncle Willie posing in an anti-animal abuse campaign for the animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) back in 2013.

Speaking at the time, she said: "Dogs, to me, are like children. They are the closest thing to God. They are so pure in their love, and all they do is aim to please."

This isn't the first time Taraji has shown just how much she loves animals either, as she previously stripped completely named for an anti-fur advert for the organisation.

She said of her campaign: "We're not just even talking about a full-length fur coat.

"I'm talking about just, like, fur on your gloves or on your jacket or--what goes into making that little piece of fur ripped my heart out."

Meanwhile, it's not known whether Taraji will get another dog to replace Uncle Willie.