Hot lights rather than boiling water may have killed a 11/4-pound lobster that gained attention when the woman who bought it for a Valentine's Day feast decided to spare it from the pot.

Suzanne Brown said the $14 Maine lobster she dubbed Oscar died this weekend.Gary Gerontis, a seafood merchant who had offered to fly the lobster back to New England so that it could be tossed back into the ocean, told Brown on Friday that Oscar was terminally ill.

She said she gave him permission to put the lobster to sleep by placing it in the freezer.

Brown, tearful over the whole incident, said she feared the media attention she stirred up to save Oscar might have caused its demise.

She said she told her story to the news media in hopes of finding a tank for Oscar. The story of the woman who fell for the lobster became an instant hit, and Oscar spent ensuing days under hot television lights, a pen shoved in one claw to sign autographs.

"Everybody thought it was a wonderful story and it did make a lot of people happy," she said.

Brown said she planned to bury the crustacean at Point Penrose State Park.

Her husband, Dave, planned to help bury the lobster that was intended for his dinner plate. While he supported her efforts, he offered a final observation: "I never did get my dinner."