Paul the Octopus, whose predictive powers during the 2009 Euros and the 2010 World Cup led to worldwide fame, was found dead this morning in his tank at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany. The soothsaying cephalopod was 2½ years old.
Said aquarium manager Stefan Porwoll, “He is very dear to us all and we will miss him. He died peacefully at night and a natural death.”
Equipped with nine brains, eight limbs and three hearts, Paul’s predictive powers first came to notice in the during Euro 2008. By the time of the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup, the oracle octopus was world famous for his 9–1 record in predicting the results of of Germany’s matches, his only misstep occurring when he predicted that Germany would beat Spain in the Euros.
With Germany again facing Spain in the World Cup semifinals, Paul’s prediction that Spain would win to advance to the finals resulted in death threats from German fans. Paul then went on to correctly pick Spain to win over the Netherlands, finishing a perfect World Cup record.
While other predicting animals such as Mani the Parakeet and Yawn Scoff Belch Snooze Belch Snooze Whizz Snooze Belch Fiver the Sloth attempted to ride on Paul’s coattails, it was only Paul whose fame soon translated into a book deal, a movie contract and endorsements, leading his agent, Chris Davis, to call Paul a “multi-million brand.”
Despite such success, controversy still followed the octopus.
In late July, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacked Paul as a symbol of decadence and decay and accused the cephalopod of spreading “western propaganda and superstition.”
Further controversy followed when it was revealed that Paul was pulling for England’s 2018 World Cup bid. Though he lived in Germany, Paul was hatched at Weymouth Sea Life Center on England’s south coast. Said the center’s manager, Nicola Hamilton, “he is definitely a proud Englishman.”
Paul will be cremated later this week. A memorial ceremony will follow.