ATLANTA — Zoo Atlanta confirmed Tuesday that Ozzie, the world’s oldest male gorilla, has died at the age of 61.
Ozzie was found dead by his care team, and a cause of death has not yet been determined, WSB-TV reported.
The popular zoo resident had experienced decreased appetite recently, as well as facial swelling and weakness. A necropsy is pending in partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service, the TV station reported.
In a social media post, Zoo Atlanta President and CEO Raymond B. King called Ozzie’s loss a “devastating” one for the attraction.
“While we knew this time would come someday, that inevitability does nothing to stem the deep sadness we feel at losing a legend,” King wrote.
According to zoo officials, Ozzie was also the third-oldest gorilla in the world, and he made zoological history in 2009 when he became the first gorilla ever to participate in a voluntary blood pressure reading, WJCL reported.
Ozzie was the last surviving member of the original generation of gorillas who arrived at the zoo’s outdoor exhibit in 1988, which also featured the late Willie B., WSB-TV reported.
According to a Zoo Atlanta news release, Ozzie was a western lowland gorilla, which is a critically endangered species, the TV station reported.
Ozzie is survived by daughter Kuchi; sons Kekla, Stadi and Charlie; granddaughter Lulu; great-granddaughter Andi; and great-grandson Floyd, all of whom live at Zoo Atlanta, as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren living at other accredited U.S. and Canadian zoos, WJCL reported.
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