Koko The Gorilla, Who Played Bass With Flea, Has Died

BBC  Ron Cohn    
     BOND Koko and her sign language teacher Penny Patterson

BBC Ron Cohn BOND Koko and her sign language teacher Penny Patterson

Koko the gorilla died today after having lived to the age of 46, having spent her life famous for mastering American Sign Language.

Koko was later joined in the project by a second lowland gorilla, Michael, and was eventually moved to the Santa Cruz mountains in California where they were joined by a third gorilla, Ndume.

Although she only met Robin Williams once in 2011, Koko mourned the late Oscar victor after he died in August 2014 by signing to Patterson, "CRY LIP".

She appeared in many documentaries and twice in National Geographic.

She touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas.

The Gorilla Foundation has announced the death of their beloved gorilla Koko, aged 46.

"She was beloved and will be deeply missed".

Koko was also famous for her love of kittens, and for expressing grief when her kitten Ball died.

Williams, another San Francisco Bay area legend, met Koko in 2001 and called it a "mind-altering experience". She was gifted a box of kittens on her 44th birthday.

Koko was widely recognized in pop culture after meeting several celebrities, such as Mister Rogers, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, and Robin Williams.

The foundation's statement continued: "Her impact has been profound and what she has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities will continue to shape the world".

The magazine's 1978 cover featured a photo that Koko had taken of herself in a mirror.

Koko painted objects in her environment but also expressions of her thoughts and emotions.

Koko was among a handful of primates who could communicate using sign language; others included Washoe, a female chimpanzee in Washington state, and Chantek, a male orangutan in Atlanta.

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    Koko The Famous Sign Language Gorilla Dead At 46

    In 1974, Dr Patterson and Dr Ronald Cohn moved Koko and the project to Stanford and went on to establish The Gorilla Foundation. Following the article, the book Koko's Kitten was published and continues to be used in elementary schools worldwide.

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