In the years of it's struggle, it provided nesting for mourning & white winged doves as well as a few Gila Woodpeckers. Now in it's death it will provide for many organisms as it decays.
In the last couple of years, we could tell the cactus was loosing ground. The arms began to shrink in bulk as it used up it's moisture stores.
When we were in Tucson before Thanksgiving, we noticed the telltale black ooze of a dying Saguaro and the distinct lean of the giant, so I took a few photos, knowing it would not stand much longer. As we arrived back in Tucson a week later, the injured soldier lay crumpled on the ground. I'm saddened by it's loss, but I'm so glad we got to enjoy it the way we did.
The first arm burst through in June 2004 and we were so excited, but within the next year the injury occurred that would bring the end to this beautiful plant. It stood in silhouette in many sunrise and sunset photos we took over the years. It's been photographed with rainbows and the moon & planets. We even used it as a backdrop to photos promoting the Arizona Banjo & Ukulele Blast in 2014.