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Pattycake, the first New York-born gorilla, dies at 40

Julie Larsen Maher/Bronx Zoo via Reuters, file

Pattycake, the first gorilla born in New York City, sits in the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo. She has died aged 40.

Pattycake, the first gorilla born in New York City, has died aged 40, the operators of the Bronx Zoo announced late Sunday.

She was suffering from chronic cardiac problems and was under medical care due to her advanced age, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement.

"Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo," said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and WCS executive vice president. "Pattycake was a very special animal and her presence will be deeply missed."

The median life span for gorillas in zoos is 37 years, and Pattycake was the 31st oldest gorilla of the 338 presently residing in North American zoos, WCS said.

Pattycake was born at the Central Park Zoo on Sept. 3, 1972 and lived there with her parents Kongo and Lulu until moving to the Bronx Zoo in 1983.

She had 10 infants while at the Bronx Zoo, including twins born in 1995. Her offspring currently reside in zoos in Omaha, Louisville, Utah, Detroit, Boston and Buffalo.

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