Jack Hanna’s family reveals he is battling dementia and has retired aged 74 (Picture: AP)
Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna has been diagnosed with dementia and will retire from public life, his family has revealed.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the animal TV show host’s family explained that it’s believed he has Alzheimer’s disease that has progressed after than expected in the last few months.
The 74-year-old Hanna was director of the Columbus Zoo from 1978 to 1992 and still serves as its director emeritus.
‘Today, we reach out to share some personal Hanna Family news,’ his children Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie, began in the statement. ‘Doctors have diagnosed our dad, Jack Hanna, with dementia now believed to be Alzheimer’s disease.’
It continued: ‘His condition has progressed much faster in the last few months than any of us could have anticipated. 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.’
They then stated: ‘The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been a major part of our lives since we moved to Central Ohio as young girls in 1978. From day one, Dad advocated for improved wildlife habitats and focused on connecting the community with animals. After he left his active management role as Executive Director in 1992, he continued to be spokesperson for the zoo until his retirement last year.’
His proud daughter continued: ‘Dad engaged with millions of households through his media appearance and weekly television programs – including Animal Adventures, Into the Wild and Wild Countdown.
‘This allowed him to bring an unparalleled level of awareness to the importance of global conservation given the unrelenting pressures on the natural environment. To say that we are abundantly proud to be his daughters is an understatement.’
Hanna continued to be a spokesperson for the Ohio zoo until he retired in 2020.
They continued: ‘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.
Jack Hanna made numerous TV appearances over the years, building a large fan base across the US (Picture: Terence Patrick/CBS/Getty Images)
‘To keep everyone safe in light of Covid-19 restrictions, we are asking for privacy, which is ironic given Dad’s love of interaction 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.’
Hanna became loved for his live animal demonstrations on talk shows hosted by Johnny Carson, David Letterman and James Corden, all to increase the profile of the Columbus Zoo.
He famously always wore khakis on every television appearance and in photos, while Hanna hosted the popular syndicated TV show Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures from 1993 to 2008.
The celebrity zookeeper also hosted ‘Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild and Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown.
Credit: Original article published here.