Paul the octopus, which won unlikely worldwide fame correctly predicting a host of World Cup matches, has died, his owners said today.
Stefan Porwoll, manager of the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in Germany, said: 'His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself.'
Paul predicted the winners of all Germany's World Cup clashes, and then of the final by selecting one of two boxes, each loaded with a mussel food treat and marked on the outside with one of the teams.
Staff at the centre said his death was not entirely unexpected, since common octopuses generally only live a couple of years.
'He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and we are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life here,' said Mr Porwoll.
'We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine.'
Paul will live on meanwhile in the form of a range of commercial enterprises ranging from special clothing lines to mobile phone applications.
He will also feature in a documentary to be released early next year.