The ape was diagnosed with heart disease in 2010 and had since been on heart medication to alleviate symptoms.

According to the zoo, cardiac disease is a major cause of death for adult gorillas.

Western lowland gorillas such as Bom Bom are critically endangered due to commercial hunting for meat, habitat loss and poaching in the wild.

Bom Bom was a leader of one of the zoo’s two troops of lowland gorillas. He arrived at the facility in 2002 from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. He had two offspring, one of whom — his son, George — is at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

“Bom Bom was such a magnificent animal, his loss will be felt by our entire Zoo family,” said Dwight Scott, Oklahoma City Zoo executive director.

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