It's popularity was unsurpassed in the amateur market, for which it was designed for. And the paparazzi (35mm secondary user) probably neither know nor care where anything comes from, as long as they get their pictures. That's probably why all '10000' of them are now shooting digital.
The 'oddity' of 35mm is its compromise. Cameras were designed around it, not the other way round. The format is actually a difficult one, but don't ask me why. I believe the ideal is something Olympus does with their range of dslr's.
I love the 'little under the weather' remark. That's like telling dinosaurs they had a bit of a bad day.