Orangutan that picked Super Bowl winners dies in Utah

Tue Sep 9, 2014 3:41pm EDT
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(Reuters) - An orangutan who became famous by correctly predicting the winner of the Super Bowl for the last seven straight years has died at a zoo in Utah, its keepers said on Tuesday.

Elijah, a 24-year-old male, died from complications due to breast cancer, the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City said, adding that he underwent surgery on Saturday after his condition declined.

"We were hoping to find something fixable," Senior Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Carpenter said in a statement. "The staff worked tirelessly but ... he succumbed during the procedure."

Elijah had won widespread media attention for predicting Super Bowl winners, most recently by picking 2014 victors the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos by choosing a model of a Seahawks helmet from a pair set up in his pen.

He was born at Topeka Zoo in Kansas, and moved to Utah in 2004. In 2011, Elijah was diagnosed with breast cancer, the Hogle Zoo said, which is extremely rare in orangutans, with only two reported cases for females and no others in males.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sandra Maler)