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A Sad Fish Tale: The Death Of 'Benson' Has U.K. Anglers Mourning

The death of

Benson's death is front-page news. The Times of London/timesonline.co.uk hide caption

itoggle caption The Times of London/timesonline.co.uk

Barbaro's death had American horse lovers in tears nearly three years ago.

Hachiko is a canine legend in Japan more than 70 years after his death. Edinburgh's most famous pooch is Greyfriars Bobby, who passed away in 1872.

This week, anglers in Great Britain are mourning the loss of Benson — a 64-pounder thought to be the nation's largest common carp. She was about 35 years old when she was found dead last week.

Her death made the front page of The Times, which writes that:

Benson was "in her own way, one of the great celebrities of her age, a creature of such grace and physical perfection that admirers would come from hundreds of miles away just to catch a glimpse of her."

And many — more than 60, it's thought — literally did catch her over the years. They include UK Carp editor Steve Broad, who wrote this week of his trip to the lake in Cambridgeshire where Benson swam that:

"In the driving rain, soaked and muddy, I pulled the carp towards me and looked down. There lay my obsession, Benson."

According to The Sun, Benson may have been poisoned. Uncooked nuts, which were probably used as bait and are toxic to them, were found on the bank near Benson's floating body.

This afternoon, All Things Considered's Madeleine Brand spoke with UK Carp 's Broad about Benson. He thinks it's more likely Benson died of natural causes — most notably, old age. And he says her death marks "the end of an era":

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If you're wondering how Benson got her name, there's some dispute. The Times says it was inspired by "a hole the shape of a cigarette burn in her dorsal fin." Broad agrees that a cigarette was involved, but says that a long time ago Benson was caught along with another large fish and the pair were named for the British cigarette brand Benson & Hedges.

And if you haven't heard enough about this fish, here's a Sky News report:

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