Paul the World Cup-predicting octopus dies

Creature gained fame this summer by accurately predicting the outcomes of Germany's seven games


Nesha Starcevic
October 26, 2010 8:15PM (UTC)

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

Paul had reached the octopus old age of 2 1/2 years and died in his tank on Tuesday morning in an aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen, spokeswoman Ariane Vieregge said.

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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.

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.

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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.

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

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David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.


Nesha Starcevic

MORE FROM Nesha Starcevic

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