'A bit of charcoal with eyes' is how volunteers remember seeing LINR Paul on his hasty arrival to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on November 3.
Lake Innes Nature Reserve Paul had been rushed to the hospital with severe burns after being found scorched and near death in the 2019 bushfires which tore a path across Port Macquarie-Hastings. Unfortunately his recovery ended earlier this week when he passed away on Sunday, June 28.
One of the volunteers who knew him the best was Barbara Barrett, she nursed him back to critical health at her home for two months.
"He'd been treated at the hospital for a while, but wasn't doing so well so I took him home. He was still living in a basket and wasn't moving around," she said.
"After a few weeks at home he began moving outside the basket and would live on the floor in my room with a bucket of leaves. Until he was well enough to come back to the hospital.
"When I saw him he was breathing through his mouth and was in a bad way. I took him home for the night to keep him warm but he died in the morning."
Volunteers have theorised that he may have died from complications from smoke inhalation or kidney damage, despite no immediate dangers detected in an autopsy.
Volunteer Mick Feeney said Paul had not presented a great chance of survival from the outset and was a constant surprise in the hospital.
"He originally came in as a bit of charcoal with eyes. Everyday was a surprise saying 'ah he's still with us'.
"Unfortunately he didn't thrive like he should have. He didn't get that good body weight and his fur stayed brown unlike other koalas."
Paul was an international face of the bushfire crisis with more than 31,000 people adopting him through the hospital's online adoption page.