Across North America, prognosticating groundhogs traditionally make their annual weather predictions on Feb. 2 — but no one could have predicted what happened to one up in Quebec.
Sadly, Fred la Marmotte, the Quebecois cousin to Punxsutawney Phil, died shortly before he was scheduled to reveal whether the Canadian province would experience six more weeks of winter, according to the Canadian outlet Global News.
Roberto Blondin, the organizer of the local Groundhog Day event, had to announce the tragic death to a crowd of spectators.
“When I went to wake him last night he had no vital signs,” Blondin said. “He most likely died during hibernation.”
He suspected that Fred passed away in late fall or early December at the age of 9, according to CBC News.
Despite Fred’s demise, the Quebec event went ahead, though with a plush groundhog as a stand-in. Meanwhile, a group of children made the official weather prediction, foreseeing a prolonged winter.
One of the groundhog’s sons, Fred Junior, will take his dad’s spot next year.
News of Fred’s untimely death cast a shadow on Twitter — and inspired some wisecracks.
“The FINAL hibernation,” one person quipped.