Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum, is dead

Star attraction

“The three and a half year old marsupial was suffering from osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease) for the last couple of months. Besides, the opossum was showing symptoms of senility and was hardly able to move. She was put to sleep to spare her from further pain and suffering as per the Protection of Animals Act of Germany,” an official release from the zoo stated.

Heidi shot to international fame akin to Paul the Octopus early this year when she almost correctly predicted Oscar winners for the best Actor and Actress by choosing British actor Colin Firth for his role in “The King’s Speech” and US actress Natalie Portman for her performance in “Black Swan.”

In 2010, Paul the Octopus achieved global fame from his tank in northern Germany for correctly predicting the outcome of the football World Cup matches. He too subsequently died.

The cross-eyed opossum had become an internet hit, winning about 3,26,000 admirers on social networking website Facebook, more than three times as many as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Thousands of facebook friends and fans across the twittersphere are mourning the loss of Heidi.

Heidi drew admirers from across the globe with her cute but confused appearance -- stemming from her crossed eyes that the zoo authorities attributed to a weight problem. Her unique looks attracted thousands of visitors to the Leipzig zoo, where she was the centre of attraction. As the news about Heidi’s death spread in the morning, a pal of gloom descended over not only the zoo, but the entire Leipzig city.

Heidi's eye problem was believed to be due to a poor diet before she was abandoned in the United States, or because she was overweight, leading to fat deposits behind her eyes.

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