Oklahoma City Zoo officials announced Tuesday the death of 50-year-old gorilla, Kathy.
According to a news release, Kathy died peacefully Tuesday morning. The Western lowland gorilla came to Oklahoma City from the Philadelphia Zoo in 1971 when she was just 9 years old.
"Kathy was considered the matriarch of her troop," said Alan Varsik, Zoo deputy director. "She had a gentle and caring nature, and we will greatly miss her presence at the Zoo."
During her time in Oklahoma City, Kathy gave birth to eight gorillas, including zoo favorite, Bom Bom. Bom Bom died of cardiac arrest in July 2012.
The zoo said the median life expectancy for gorillas is just 35 years, but advances in veterinary medicine, nutrition and habitation helped extend Kathy's life. Zoo officials are performing a necropsy, which is an animal autopsy, on Kathy to determine exactly what caused her death.
The zoo is encouraging people to share their memories of Kathy on their Facebook fan page. You can also view photos of the popular gorilla on the Oklahoma City Zoo website.