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Quebec's famed groundhog Fred la Marmotte has died; child stands in for Groundhog Day

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The Quebec rodent whose job it was to predict whether spring would arrive early, Fred la Marmotte, died the day before Groundhog Day.

"This year, it's true. It's sadly true," said la Jour de Marmotte committee organizer Roberto Blondin on the event's livestream. "I'm announcing the death of Fred."

Blondin said that the nine-year-old groundhog did not wake up when organizers went to check on him last night.

The event continued in Val d'Espoir, Que., near Perce in the Gaspe peninsula, however, with a child chosen to stand in for Fred and give the annual prediction. 

Blondin pulled a stuffed marmot from Fred's log cabin and handed it to a child who decided whether spring would be coming early.

"Spring is delayed," the child announced.

Blondin said next year Fred Junior would return.

CONFLICTING GROUNDHOG FORECASTS

Other weather-predicting groundhogs made the same prediction as the child holding the stuffy in Quebec, but not all of them.

In Nova Scotia, Shubenacadie Sam saw his shadow in Halifax and called for a late spring.

In Oak Hammock March, Manitoba Merv said the province's cold snap will continue

Iconic Pennsylvania celebrity and one-time Bill Murray co-star Punxsutawney Phil also saw his shadow.

In Ontario, however, Wiarton Willie called for an early spring after emerging from his Plexiglas box. South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Garry Michi made the announcement.

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