SALT LAKE CITY — Elijah, the Hogle Zoo orangutan who correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner the last seven years, has died.

The zoo announced Tuesday that 24-year-old Eli died from complications due to breast cancer.

Zoo officials say Eli had been exhibiting signs of discomfort and a lack of appetite. Veterinary staff worked closely with ape keepers and, concerned that it was Eli's cancer, conducted an exploratory procedure Saturday.

"We were hoping to find something fixable," said senior zoo veterinarian Dr. Nancy Carpenter. "The staff worked tirelessly, but the mass in his neck was blocking his airway and he succumbed during the procedure."

Eli was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2011 and had two surgeries to remove the original mass.

Eli was born in Topeka, Kansas and moved to Utah in 2004. He lived with Eve, 23, and 9-year-old Acara.

"Eli was the class clown, a total ham," said senior great ape keeper Bobbi Gordon. "He aimed to entertain and please. He played gently with Acara and was very interactive with the public. He enjoyed doing silly things to make guests or keepers squeal, laugh and scream."

He made his Super Bowl pick each year by choosing between papier-mache helmets or goal posts with team logos.