Bookies and animal lovers alike were in mourning Tuesday after a Utah zoo confirmed that Elijah the Orangutan, who accurately guessed the winners in seven consecutive Super Bowls, has died.
Better known as Eli, the clairvoyant ape was a “staff and community favorite” who rocketed to national fame by correctly forecasting the winning team in each of the last seven Super Bowls. Eli, 24, was born in Topeka, Kansas, at the zoo. He moved to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2004. He died due to complications from breast cancer during a medical procedure, the zoo said in a statement.
“Eli was the class clown, a total ham,” Senior Great Ape Keeper Bobbi Gordon said. “He aimed to entertain and please. He played gently with Acara and was very interactive with the public. He enjoyed doing silly things to make guests or keepers squeal, laugh and scream,” she said.
Eli is survived by his offspring Acara, 9, with whom he lived and was “a gentle father,” the zoo said.
Here’s a video of Eli correctly predicting that the Seattle Seahawks would win the Super Bowl in perfect ape fashion, as he always did, by smashing and climbing on things. He retired with 7 out of 7 correct guesses, at the top of his game.