Celebrity deaths don't usually get to me, but this one definitely brought a tear to my eye. I remember well being in grammar school and learning about one of the most fascinating animals who ever lived. Koko the gorilla was born in 1971 at the San Francisco Zoo and was cared for her entire life by the same trainer, Dr. Penny Patterson. Koko would have turned 47 on the 4th of July.
In 1974 Koko entered a sign language program, eventually learning over 1,000 words, and also understood over 2,000 spoken words. Her ability to show emotion, caring and empathy were absolutely amazing. Over her life, she even cared for many pet kittens. The videos below show Koko with her kittens, and her trainer and lifelong friend. For anyone like me who grew up with a fascination with primates, it is a sad day. Rest in peace, Koko. You brought joy and inspiration to so many of us. There will never be another like you.
Videos courtesy of YouTube.