Wiarton Willie, Ontario’s prognosticating albino groundhog, dead at 13

WATCH ABOVE: Wiarton Willie dies after 13 years of groundhog prognostication. Alan Carter has more.

Wiarton Willie, Canada’s iconic prognosticating albino groundhog, has died at the age of 13.

The Town of South Bruce Peninsula in southwestern Ontario announced the news on Willie’s Twitter account on Wednesday.

“Most groundhogs in the wild live to be approximately 4 years old, with shorter lifespans typically for the albino variety, like Willie,” a statement read.

“Willie’s daily care regiment coupled with living in a safe and protected environment allowed Willie to reach the ripe old age of 13.”

READ MORE: Ontario’s albino groundhog Wiarton Willie predicts an early spring

Officials said the town will commemorate Willie by erecting a statue in his “likeness” at Wiarton’s Bluewater Park.

“Willie was 13 years young and served our Town, Province and Country with immense pride each and every Groundhog Day,” the statement said.

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“Willie also enjoyed meeting the thousands of guests that would visit him at his home in Bluewater Park during the summer months.”

WATCH: MP gives poetic tribute to Wiarton Willie

MP gives poetic tribute to Wiarton Willie
MP gives poetic tribute to Wiarton Willie

A memorial service for the beloved rodent, which will include a funeral procession, will be held on Sept. 30 at 11 a.m. at Bluewater Park.

READ MORE: Town defends groundhog Wiarton Willie after complaints over cold weather

The public is also invited to attend a ceremony to anoint Willie’s two-year-old understudy, Wee Willie, as the town’s new prognosticator.

Hundreds bundle up to watch Willie emerge from his burrow each winter, many slipping on woodchuck masks or toting figurines of the famous critter.

Willie’s prognostication has always been the marquee moment during a three-day festival in his honour.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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