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Silverback gorilla Quito, 31, dies at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

7:03 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
Quito, a Silverback gorilla who has been at the Zoo since 1998, died over the weekend - Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Silverback gorilla, who has lived at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens since 1998, has died.

Quito, who was born at the Stone Zoo in Boston on June 1, 1981, was found dead in the gorilla exhibit on Sunday morning, according to a release from the zoo.

Cardiac failure is the suspected cause of Quito's death, as there was a history of heart disease in his family. He had been on heart medication for the past three years. More histopathology tests have yet to be done in the coming weeks.

"We are all mourning the loss of Quito," Tony Vecchio, Executive Director of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, said in the release.

"Quito was one of Jacksonville Zoo and Garden's most popular animals. He was also a great ambassador for the Zoo's mission and its dedication to the conservation of rare and endangered species."

Quito became part of the Zoo's first gorilla group when arrived in March 1998 from the St. Louis Zoo. He became a troop leader and fan favorite at the Zoo thanks to his outgoing personality.

The Zoo will pay tribute to Quito on Saturday by contributing $5 from each ticket to primate conservation efforts. Zoo visitors can create farewell messages for Quito and hang them on the path from the Range of the Jaguar to the Great Apes.

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