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updated: 9/19/2012 11:22 AM

Tiny the Spider couldn't escape Father Time

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  • A banner depicting a tombstone for Tiny the Spider, hangs on the side of the American Eagle roller coaster with one of her babies this Halloween season at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. Six Flags released an "obituary" Monday for Tiny the Spider, who has been an icon for the amusement park's Fright Fest event for the past 21 years.

       A banner depicting a tombstone for Tiny the Spider, hangs on the side of the American Eagle roller coaster with one of her babies this Halloween season at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. Six Flags released an "obituary" Monday for Tiny the Spider, who has been an icon for the amusement park's Fright Fest event for the past 21 years.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • A chalk outline in a photo supplied by Six Flags Great America after an announcement mourning the loss of Tiny the Spider, their Fright Fest icon.

      A chalk outline in a photo supplied by Six Flags Great America after an announcement mourning the loss of Tiny the Spider, their Fright Fest icon.
    Courtesy of Six Flags Great America

 
 

One thing Tiny couldn't escape was Father Time.

Tiny, a 40-foot giant inflatable spider that hung annually from the side of the American Eagle roller coaster, perished this week while stuffed inside a shed at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, authorities said.

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Six Flags spokeswoman Katy Enrique said Tiny, who was due to celebrate her 22nd birthday in 2012, was found deflated and unresponsive Monday morning by amusement park officials after she was scheduled to be put on the side of the roller coaster.

Enrique said employees setting up decorations at the park's annual Fright Fest attempted to revive the giant spider, but she simply could no longer hold air.

"Her three babies will remain on the side of the Eagle to pay tribute to her," she said. "All the characters -- like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck -- are in mourning right now. It's a sad day for everyone."

The black widow, considered by park employees as the "Icon of Fright Fest," was first hoisted up the side of the American Eagle overlooking the Tri-State Tollway in 1991, Enrique said.

Since her first appearance, Tiny has made the annual climb up the side of the iconic wooden roller coaster without fear, Enrique said.

However, a real scare for Tiny came when she was spider-napped in 1994.

Enrique said park employees arriving early one Saturday morning saw the 200-pound spider missing from where it was three days prior.

Gurnee police determined vandals cut the spider loose and took it, Enrique said, but police recovered her three days later.

While the time and location have yet to be determined, a funeral for the giant black spider will take place on the grounds of Great America on Sept. 29, Enrique said.

"It's truly a sad day for all of us," she said. "We will definitely miss her."

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