Paul the Octopus dies in Germany

Updated: October 27, 2010, 10:52 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Paul the Octopus, the tentacled tipster who fascinated soccer fans by correctly predicting results at this year's World Cup, died Tuesday.

Paul had reached the octopus-old age of 2½ years and died in his tank on Tuesday morning in an aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen, spokeswoman Ariane Vieregge said.

[+] EnlargePaul the Octopus
Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty ImagesPaul the Octopus, who went a perfect 8 for 8 in World Cup picks before retiring, died on Tuesday at the aquarium in Germany where he lived.

Paul seemed to be in good shape when he was checked late Monday, but he did not make it through the night. He died of natural causes, Vieregge added.

Stefan Porwoll, manager of the Oberhausen Sea Life Center in Germany that housed Paul, said: "We are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life here and that the care provided him by our dedicated displays team could not have been bettered.

"His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself. We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine.

"While this may seem a curious thing to do for a sea creature, Paul achieved such popularity during his short life that it may be deemed the most appropriate course of action."

Meanwhile, Seal Life aquarium spokeswoman Tanja Munzig said Paul's successor will be presented to the public next week. According to Munzig, his successor was born near the southern French city of Montpellier.

After rising to global prominence during the World Cup in South Africa in June and July, Paul retired from the predictions business after the final between Spain and the Netherlands -- the result of which he also forecast correctly -- and returned to his prime role of making children happy.

The invertebrate was stepping "back from the official oracle business," Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, told AP Television News at the time.

"He won't give any more oracle predictions -- either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," she said. "Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh."

Paul correctly predicted the outcomes of all seven of Germany's World Cup games. He made his predictions by opening the lid of one of two clear plastic boxes, each containing a mussel and bearing a team flag.

After his World Cup soothsaying skills were revealed, the English-born Paul was appointed an ambassador to England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. He had English roots, having been hatched at Weymouth Sea Life Center on England's south coast in 2008.

Imitators sprang up all over the world, including Mani the Parakeet in Singapore and Lorenzo the Parrot in Hannover, Germany.

The latest was a saltwater crocodile named Dirty Harry, who predicted Spain's World Cup final win and called the result of Australia's general election by snatching a chicken carcass dangling beneath a caricature of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Paul became so popular in Spain that a northwestern Spanish town tried to borrow him.

In response to hundreds of requests to bring Paul to Spain, the Madrid Zoo asked Sea Life if it would be willing to make a deal to bring him in as a tribute to the Spanish team's victory, either temporarily or for good. But the German aquarium turned down that offer, too.

Paul also had an agent and his name was used to help endangered turtles on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

Information from ESPNsoccernet.com and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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