Duchess, Phoenix Zoo's oldest orangutan, dies

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Zoo announced Sunday that the country's oldest Bornean orangutan has died.

Duchess, the zoo's matriarch orangutan was 52 years old when she died.

She had lived at the Phoenix Zoo since just after it opened in 1962 and surpassed the number of years that orangutans live in zoos and preserves, as well as in the wild, according to zoo officials.

Duchess had been diagnosed with high grade lymphosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

Officials said efforts were made to make sure her final days were made as comfortable as possible and on Sunday the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.

Duchess was born in the jungles of Borneo where she was orphaned at a young age. It was estimated she was 2 years old when she came to Phoenix.

During her life, Duchess gave birth to seven babies and five of her offspring have reproduced.

Duchess shared her exhibit at the Phoenix Zoo with her daughter Bess, her granddaughter Kasih and Bess's mate, Michael.

A celebration of life will take place on Saturday, June 30 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. to honor Duchess.

If you would like to share your memories and thoughts about Duchess, you can go to the zoo's Facebook page .

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