World's oldest male gorilla sadly dies in US zoo
"No matter how many years we get with animals, it's never long enough."
The world's oldest male gorilla, Ozzie, has passed away aged 61.
The western lowland silverback was found by his "heartbroken" team at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia on Tuesday.
He was said to have lost his appetite last week and was being provided with supportive care to encourage him to eat and drink.
His condition got worse on Monday, and he was treated for extreme weakness and facial swelling, as well as his inability to eat or drink.
Ozzie was the only original member of the first generation of western lowland gorillas who arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 1988.
"This is a devastating loss for Zoo Atlanta," said Raymond B King, the zoo's president and chief executive.
"While we knew this time would come someday, that inevitability does nothing to stem the deep sadness we feel at losing a legend.
"Ozzie’s life’s contributions are indelible, in the generations of individuals he leaves behind in the gorilla population and in the world’s body of knowledge in the care of his species.
"Our thoughts are with his care team, who have lost a part of their lives and a part of their hearts."
Jodi Carrigan, Associate Curator of Primates added: "No matter how many years we get with our animals, it's never long enough. We made every minute count with Ozzie and he will always love on in our hearts."
Last year, Ozzie celebrated his 60th birthday at the zoo with a multi-tired ice cake full of frozen fruit.
He has four children, one granddaughter and two great-grandchildren, all of whom live at Zoo Atlanta
Ozzie was the third oldest gorilla in the world. The oldest is 64-year-old Fatou, at the Berlin Zoo in Germany, and the second oldest is Helen, from the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky, who turned 63 on 1 January.