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Phoenix Zoo announces death of Andean bear, Rizarro

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Posted at 5:32 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 20:35:42-04

Rest easy, Rizarro.

The 28-year-old male Andean bear was humanely euthanized on Friday morning, the Phoenix Zoo announced in a Facebook post. The Zoo said Rizarro, also known as Riz, had mobility issues, chronic osteoarthritis, and cancer that had spread to his organs.

"Riz was not only an incredible bear to work with, but he was also a calm and gentle spirit to be around. It was impossible to have a bad day when you were working with him," the zoo wrote.

He came to the zoo in 2011 and was paired with Rio, a female Andean bear.

In 2013, Rizarro and Rio gave birth to a cub, Luka. Luka was transferred to the Nashville Zoo in 2015.

The Zoo said Rizarro enjoyed being spoon-fed applesauce and jelly daily, and hanging out with his keepers.

"He was the kind of animal that you could pour your soul to, and he would just sit there, listen and enjoy your company," the zoo said. "All of his keepers will miss the way he looked at you when you asked him to get up in the morning, as if he would ask for "five more minutes, please!"

The Zoo said Rio will continue to be on exhibit and cared for by her keepers.

You can read the Phoenix Zoo's memorial to Rizarro below: