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Paul the octopus, the most famous octopus that has ever accurately predicted World Cup matches, died Tuesday morning in his German aquarium at the tender age of 2 1/2. He died of natural causes.

Paul rocketed to worldwide fame when he "predicted" the correct outcome of all seven Germany matches and the final between Spain and the Netherlands at the World Cup in South Africa over the summer by eating a bit of food out of a box bearing the flag of the winning team ahead of each match. German fans turned on him, threatening to eat him, when he rightly predicted Spain to beat his home country in the semifinal. In Spain, Pulpo Paul was regarded as a national hero after his prediction of the country's first World Cup victory came true. 

As Paul rose to surprising prominence, a number of other animals tried to get in on the act. From parakeets to chimps, others tried, but none could match Paul's perfection. 

Following the World Cup, Paul retired from eating out of flag boxes and focused in his tentacles on raking in the cash. Born in England, he was paid to support the country's 2018 World Cup bid. He also starred in a Chinese movie and had his own range of merchandise, with all proceeds going to charity. 

A memorial will be held for Paul at the Sea Life aquarium in Germany, featuring video of "his most beautiful and moving moments" as well as the presents he received from around the world. Paul's urn will also be put on display.

Beyond that, Paul could soon have a permanent shrine to his existence so the world will never forgot what great heights an octopus can reach. Says the manager of the aquarium, Stefan Porwoll (via the Guardian):

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

He added: "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."

No, Stefan. Nothing seems too curious for a sea creature that predicted the outcome of a sporting event. Nothing. 

Photo: Reuters

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