Known as Frank, the 44-year-old silverback gorilla had been a popular animal at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo for 30 years. He was moved to Louisville in 2002 but when increasing arthritis and other health issues finally left him in deteriorating condition, veterinarians decided Thursday they had to euthanize him, reported the Chicago Tribune Sunday.
"Frank lived a good, long life," said Louisville veterinarian Roy Burns. "But he just wore out."
At Lincoln Park, Frank had been central to one of the most successful captive gorilla breeding programs in the world. In contrast to most dominant male gorillas, Frank was known for his good treatment of female gorillas and even to young, adopted male gorillas. He was named "Father of the Year" in 1998 by Chicago Magazine.
"He was a laid-back gorilla," said Dave Berniers, one his former Lincoln Park keepers.