Jack Hanna, beloved animal expert, leaves due to dementia

“Doctors have determined that our father, Jack Hanna, has dementia, which is now believed to be Alzheimer’s,” Hanna’s family wrote in a statement. his verified Twitter account

“His condition has progressed much faster in recent months than any of us could have expected,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, my father can no longer participate in public life like he used to, where people all over the world watched, learned and laughed with him.”

“Jungle” Jack Hanna and his animals became a staple of night and day television, thanks to his many appearances on such shows as “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”, “Late Night With David Letterman” and “Today”.

Those performances yielded Hanna his own shows, including ‘Animal Adventures’, ‘Into the Wild’ and ‘Wild Countdown’.

The now 76-year-old is said to have retired in December 2020 after 42 years as director and then director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

“The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been an important part of our lives since we moved to Central Ohio as young girls in 1978,” his daughters wrote in their statement. From day one, Dad advocated for improved wildlife habitats and focused on connecting the community with animals. After leaving his active management role as Executive Director in 1992, he remained a spokesperson for the United States until his retirement last year. zoo.”

The statement paid tribute to his wife Suzi, who “has stood by his side for 53 years in every corner of the world” and Hanna’s love for the community at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

While Dad’s health has deteriorated rapidly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor still shines through. And yes – he still wears his kakis at home, ”the statement read. “To keep everyone safe in the face of COVID-19 restrictions, we ask for privacy, which is ironic given Dad’s love of interacting with people. We are grateful that the many hearts he touched over the years being him on this journey gives us strength. “