Jack Hanna, a zoo director who is famous for doing TV talk shows with live animals, has been diagnosed with dementia, his family said on Wednesday.
Doctors think it is Alzheimer’s disease, the family said in a statement.
“Her condition has improved much faster in the last few months than we would have expected,” said her daughters.
“Unfortunately, my father is no longer able to participate in public life as he used to, where people all over the world were watching, reading and laughing with him,” they said.
Hanna, 74, also known as Jungle Jack, was the director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, where she remained as director of positions.
He was famous for bringing animals to TV presenters such as David Letterman and others, and from “Good Morning America” - where he first appeared with twin twins in 1983.
He had his own TV shows, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild and Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures.
Hanna, who regularly appeared in khaki, viewed these animals as ambassadors of those in the wild.
He was appointed director of the Columbus Zoo in 1978 and retired last year. The zoo has honored him by transforming it from a “collection of pens and old buildings” to what it is today. The zoo is often listed as one of the most beautiful places in the U.S.
The zoo said it was sad to hear about the diagnosis and asked fans to join it in sending family support messages.
His daughters, Kathaleen, Suzanne, and Julie, wrote that their father believed that humans could not see the animals and that this led to a greater role in conservation efforts.
“He always said, ‘You have to touch the heart to teach the mind,’ they wrote.
The Ohio government, Mike DeWine, said he, along with the government, sent good wishes to the family and kept them in their prayers.
Hanna’s daughters said that because of the Covid-19 epidemic they were asking for privacy, which they called confusing by giving their father’s love of social media.
“As my father’s health deteriorated rapidly, we can assure you that his comedy continues to shine,” wrote his daughters. “And yes – he’s still wearing his khaki at home.”