Paul the World Cup octopus dies in his tank in Germany
Paul the octopus, an unlikely star of the 2010 World Cup who 'predicted' the outcome of seven matches, has died at an aquarium in Germany.
Staff at the Sea Life centre in Oberhausen said they were "devastated" to learn that he had passed away during the night.
Paul made his name by successfully choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of competing nations.
Octopuses rarely live beyond two years so his death was not unexpected.
Paul was two-and-a-half years old and had been hatched at another centre at Weymouth in England in 2008.
The centre's manager, Stefan Porwoll, said that Paul had correctly guessed the winner of all Germany's World Cup matches, including their defeat, and had "enthused people across every continent".
As the tournament progressed, the octopus's uncanny knack of selecting the correct box drew increasing interest from the world's media, culminating in his choice of Spain as the eventual winner.
He became an instant hero in Spain, prompting a request to have him put on display at Madrid zoo.
Amid the euphoria, he was even made an honorary citizen of a Spanish town before being made an ambassador for England's 2018 World Cup bid.
The Oberhausen centre said he had seemed fine when last checked on Monday night but was found dead on Tuesday morning.
The prophetic cephalopod's brief but extraordinary life is unlikely to be forgotten.
A documentary has been filmed and books and toys are already planned for the Christmas market.
"It's a sad day. Paul was rather special but we managed to film Paul before he left this mortal earth," said his agent, Chris Davies.
A memorial is to be erected at the aquarium in his memory.