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Fortnite seems to have killed off a fan-favourite character

Cut down in their prime.

Never mind that Ariana Grande concert. Fortnite fans are today busy mourning the lovable Bushranger, one of the game's best-loved characters, who looks like he's been killed off for good.

Last week's story quest saw players aiding the anthropomorphic tree in a series of missions to raise an alien hatchling and restore peace with the invaders - all part of the game's current UFO season storyline.

The quest appeared to end in success - until today, when Bushranger is no longer available to find on the game's island map as an NPC, and instead there's a small grave marked in his usual spot with some flowers.

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Bushranger has always been portrayed as a shy, innocent character. Some would say naive. And so his raising of a dangerous alien hatchling seemed a little foolhardy. But for this to be the outcome?

There are fan theories that Bushranger is still alive - that the grave is actually for the alien baby instead - but that wouldn't explain Bushranger's sudden disappearance. Typically, if a character is placed as an NPC on the island, they do not vanish mid-season.

Fortnite's account teased last week's alien baby quest by asking "What could go wrong?" Well...

Of course, you can still play as Bushranger yourself if you want to. In-game, Fortnite lore explains this by saying any character which has visited the island permanently lives on within its world via a "snapshot" of their actual selves.

But now the mystery is - who killed Bushranger? Was it the aliens? Or did the island's seemingly-evil Imagined Order organisation do the deed to stop Bushranger achieving peace? And will Bushranger return? For now, fans can only theorise - although there's hope Bushranger will pull a Groot-like return and regrow.

RIP Bushranger. 2019-2021.

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