The world's oldest male gorilla, Ozzie, has died at age 61.
Zoo Atlanta confirmed that the primate was discovered dead Tuesday, according to USA Today. It is unclear what led to Ozzie's death but the outlet noted that he was among a group of animals that tested positive for COVID-19 last year, although his symptoms were reportedly mild.
Ozzie had also recently exhibited a decreased appetite, facial swelling and weakness.
"This is a devastating loss for Zoo Atlanta. While we knew this time would come someday, that inevitability does nothing to stem the deep sadness we feel at losing a legend," Raymond B. King, president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta, said.
"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," he added.
According to The Sun, Ozzie first arrived at the zoo in 1988. In 2009 he made history as the "first gorilla in the world ever to participate in a voluntary blood pressure reading," the zoo noted.
Ozzie is survived by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live at Zoo Atlanta and other zoos in the United States and Canada.
While he held the title of the oldest male gorilla, the oldest living gorilla is a 64-year-old female gorilla at the Berlin Zoo — Fatou. She came to the zoo in Germany in May 1959, according to the Guinness World Records.
Fatou was taken to France from Western Africa in 1959 by a sailor who used her to settle his account at a local tavern. She was acquired by French animal trader Mme Lefevre and then purchased by Zoo Berlin.
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