Not all stories can be happy. That being said, some tales are harder to tell than others. Mascots are supposed to bring joy, not get sick.

LSU's beloved mascot, Mike the Tiger, prowls the sidelines of LSU football games and lives right outside the stadium. Students and families stop by his habitat daily to say hello, watch him swim and play, and snap a few pictures. This week, fans stopped by for a different reason, to tell Mike VI to get well soon.

In a heartbreaking report out of LSU, the university shared the sad news that Mike the Tiger has cancer. The illness is terminal, and it's rare and inoperable.

There isn't much medically Mike's caretakers can do for him, and his veterinarian, David Baker, had the duty of sharing the details at a press conference this week.

“This is a very serious, complex and life-threatening condition,” Baker said. “I’d like to assure the LSU community we are taking this very seriously, and you have my promise that we’re doing all that we can to extend Mike’s life while maintaining his quality of life.”

Mike VI is suffering from spindle cell sarcoma, which is extremely rare for a tiger. The big cat will receive experimental treatment from Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge. They're not used to dealing with tigers, but their program should help Mike VI live for another one to two years. In an effort to cooperate with the LSU Veterinary School, Mary Bird Perkins will absorb the cost of treatment.

He's been on LSU's campus ever since he was two years old, and Mike VI's last nine years provided immeasurable joy to thousands of fans, young and old. If cats really do have nine lives, Mike the Tiger deserves to live a little longer.

There is a little good news to this very sad story. Baker and the rest of the veterinary team assured us all that Mike isn't in any pain, and he's still acting like his normal tiger self.

Few animals live the life of Mike the Tiger, and it's always a painful day whenever the university has to name a successor. Let's all hope Mike VI holds on for a long time. With the wonders of medical science, we might not have to meet Mike VII for a couple more years.