Leo the gorilla dies at Seattle zoo after brief illness

SEATTLE (AP) — The 360-pound lead gorilla at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle who became the adoptive father of a 2-year-old gorilla has died.

Zoo officials say 40-year-old Leo died Thursday after a brief illness.

The silverback gorilla, whose full name was Leonel, came to the zoo in 2008. His family group included 22-year-old female gorilla Nadiri, her 2-year-old daughter, Yola, and 16-year-old female Akenji.

The zoo in a statement Friday says gorillas are social animals so Leo’s body was kept overnight so the gorillas and people who knew him could say goodbye.

The zoo says the median life expectancy for a western lowland gorilla is 32, but gorillas in zoos can live into their 40s or 50s.

An animal autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.