Death of beloved groundhog casts a shadow on Groundhog Day in Canada

Fred la Marmotte was found dead.

Organizers of a Groundhog Day event in Quebec had to use a stuffed toy groundhog stand-in after the live groundhog was found dead.

The Canadian groundhog known as Fred la Marmotte was found dead hours before the annual ceremony.

His handler says that he died during hibernation and could have been dead for weeks.

Officials had to break the news to the crowd that had gathered in the cold for the annual event.

The fake groundhog cast a shadow.

The fake groundhog cast a shadow.

They followed the old adage that "The show must go on" and held the event anyway.

The fake groundhog cast a shadow meaning 6 more weeks of winter in Canada.  Of course, it could be 10 weeks since it is Canada, after all.

A new groundhog will be used for next year's event.  No funeral arrangements were immediately available for Fred la Marmotte.

Last year, a New Jersey Groundhog Day event had to be canceled due to the death of another groundhog.

Milltown Mel died just before his annual big day and the wranglers don't have time to find a replacement for Mel.