Zoo director Jack Hanna, famous for a TV talk show with live animals, was diagnosed with dementia, his family said on Wednesday.
Doctors think it is Alzheimer’s, the family said in a statement.
“His condition has progressed much faster in recent months than we all could have imagined,” his daughter said.
“Sadly, fathers can no longer participate in public life as it used to be where people all over the world watch, learn and laugh by their side,” they say.
Hanna, 74, known as Jungle Jack, is the director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio where he served as director.
He is famous for making animal appearances on TV shows such as David Letterman and others and on “Good Morning America”, where he first appeared with twin baby gorillas in 1983.
He also has his own TV shows like Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild, and Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures.
Hanna, who often appears in khaki, treats these animals as ambassadors of those in the forest.
He was hired as director of the Columbus Zoo in 1978 and retired the previous year. The zoo gives him credit for making the switch. “The pen collection and the old building” came to be what it is today. Zoos are often ranked as the best zoos in the United States.
The zoo said it regretted learning about the diagnosis and asked fans to join in sending messages of support to the family.
His daughters Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie wrote that their father believed that the fact that people could see animals made them more involved in conservation in the wild.
“He always said ‘You have to touch your heart to teach it,’ ‘they wrote.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he, along with the state, sent best wishes to families and had them in their prayers.
Hanna’s daughter said that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, they asked for privacy, which they ironically called because their father loved interacting with people.
“While Dad’s health deteriorates rapidly. But we can assure you that his good sense of humor still shines, ”wrote his daughter,“ and yes – he’s still wearing kaki at home. ”