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Death of a legend

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Ayveq, the walrus whose bizarre, though oddly compelling, masturbation rituals made him an international sensation at the New York Aquarium, has died. He was 14.

Though well-liked long before he discovered the habit that would make him a star, Ayveq’s frequent public self-gratification made him the Coney Island institution’s singular attraction.

“We are all still in shock about it,” Aquarium Director Jon Forrest Dohlin said. “He was an absolute delight. He had a magnetism and a charm that was totally his own. He loved people and he knew how to work a crowd and entertain guests.

“And himself,” Dohlin added. “He did have a raffish charm, no doubt about it.”

The Aquarium said workers discovered that Avyeq was ailing on Sunday, June 15.

“On Saturday night, he was perfect — no problems at all,” said Dohlin, “but the next morning, we could see that he was not right.”

Within one week, he was dead, most likely of a “massive” bacterial infection, Dohlin said.

“We tried everything, but it progressed so rapidly,” he said.

The exact cause of death will not be known until an autopsy.

Ayveq moved to the Aquarium from his native Alaska in 1994, shortly after he and two brothers were orphaned. His name, curiously enough, means “walrus” in Siberian Yupik.

The death of Ayveq comes almost exactly a year after the birth of his only (known) son, Akituusaq, whom he sired with the female, Kulusiq after years of unrequited courting.

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Reader Feedback

Commenter from Brooklyn says:
RIP Ayveq. We loved you.

Go dance with the mermaids in the sea now. We won't forget you.
June 23, 2008, 7:51 pm
Simon from Coney Island says:
As a former New York Aquarium intern, I will truly miss Ayveq.
June 24, 2008, 1:19 am
Docent says:
I interned there too. Spent one whole summer in front of his tank, telling everyone about dear ol' Ayveq. :(
June 25, 2008, 7:49 am
Michael from Ca. says:
is there no end, first George and now this icon??
June 26, 2008, 9:26 pm
Farkish Druid from Farkistan says:
I hope they bury him with his bucket.
June 26, 2008, 9:34 pm
Some Guy from 509 says:
Rest easy, dear friend. Now you can finally has bucket.
June 26, 2008, 10:42 pm
Obbop says:
Is it true Landsboro Baptist Church will be picketing his funeral?
June 27, 2008, 12:49 am
Jeremy from Arkansas says:
We're going to miss you, Ayveq,
June 27, 2008, 10:42 am
Ken from Tennessee says:
I hope they bury him with his bukkit
June 27, 2008, 11:15 am
Desiree says:
This is proof that masterbation will kill you.
June 27, 2008, 4:57 pm
S from North Carolina says:
I'm sorry about the walrus. I never saw him on TV or knew a thing about him until I spotted the wordpress link. I did learn something on TV while watching Bones. Dr. Temperance Brennan once said: "An autopsy on an animal is called a necropsy." :)
June 28, 2008, 1:53 am
Paul from Ankara says:
Godspeed, Ayveq. You shall be greatly missed sir.

(@ Desiree. Au contraire: this is proof that having kids will kill you.)
July 1, 2008, 5:13 pm

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