Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna has been diagnosed with dementia and will be stepping back from public life.
"His condition has progressed much faster in the last few months than any of us could have anticipated," his daughters said in a statement. "Sadly, Dad is no longer able to participate in public life as he used to, where people all over the world watched, learned, and laughed alongside him."
Hanna, who served as the director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio from 1978-1992, was known for his appearances on TV, where he would bring a menagerie of exotic animals that captivated audiences and sometimes terrified the hosts and guests.
He also shared his love of wildlife on several shows of his own, including Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, Jack Hanna's Into the Wild, and Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures.
"While Dad's health has deteriorated quickly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor continues to shine through. And yes — he still wears his khakis at home," they wrote. "To keep everyone safe in light of COVID-19 restrictions, we are asking for privacy, which is ironic given Dad's love of interacting with people. We are grateful that the many hearts he's touched over the years are with him during this journey, which gives us strength."
Photo: Getty Images