The world’s oldest male gorilla, 61-year-old Ozzie, was found dead by his care team in his habitat at Zoo Atlanta on Tuesday.
Ozzie’s cause of death is not yet known and zoo officials are still awaiting the results of a necropsy, though the western lowland gorilla, who is also the third-oldest gorilla in the world, was diagnosed with COVID-19 this past September.
His symptoms at the time were mild and he had since recovered from them, but it is unclear if the virus played a role in his death.
Veterinary staff reported that Ozzie started experiencing a decrease in appetite last Thursday and it was increasingly difficult to get him to eat, according to a press release from Zoo Atlanta. Over the 24 hours leading to his death, he exhibited worsening symptoms including facial swelling, general weakness, and the inability to eat or drink.
‘Our hearts are broken at the passing of a legend. Zoo Atlanta is devastated to share that Ozzie, the world’s oldest male gorilla, has died at 61,’ Zoo Atlanta posted on Twitter on Tuesday.