Koko, the beloved Gorilla who was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and became famous for her ability to communicate with sign language, died in her sleep Tuesday morning, the Gorilla Foundation said. She was 46 years old.
“The Gorilla Foundation is sad to announce the passing of our beloved Koko,” the research center says, informing the world about the death of a gorilla who elated millions of people with her facility for language.
Koko had the unique ability to connect with people. She met many people, and her interactions with them profoundly moved them. She was, in many ways, an ambassador for gorillas, showing how intelligent and affectionate the animals are, and how much they have in common with humans. Robin Williams once shared a joyful chat with her.
The western lowland gorilla was also known for her affection for kittens.
She leaves behind a lasting legacy. “Her impact has been profound and what she has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities will continue to shape the world,” the Gorilla Foundation said.