Paul the Octopus, who shot to fame earlier this year during the Soccer World Cup in South Africa, has died, his aquarium in Germany has announced.
Media24 reports management and staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre were "devastated to discover that oracle octopus Paul, who achieved global renown during the recent World Cup, had passed away overnight," the aquarium said in a sombre statement.
"His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself ... We had all naturally grown very fond of him and he will be sorely missed," said Sea Life manager Stefan Porwoll in a statement.
The Sea Life statement added that Paul "appears to passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and 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."
The Media24 report reminds us that Paul beat the odds during the World Cup by correctly forecasting all eight games he was asked to predict, including Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.
For the prediction, two boxes were lowered into the salty soothsayer's tank, each containing a mussel and a flag of the two opposing teams.
Porwoll said Paul's body is now in cold storage while the aquarium decides "how best to mark his passing."
He added: "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."
In anticipation of the sad event that Paul may die, a new younger common octopus had been acclimatising behind the scenes. Porwoll says the new octopus shall also be named Paul.