Beloved New York zoo gorilla dies

Pattycake, a gentle giant of a gorilla who was born in New York's Central Park Zoo 40 years ago, has died, city officials said Monday.

The gorilla, the first born in the Big Apple, lived beyond the average 37-year life span of the big primates in captivity, said the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages city's zoos.

Pattycake was born in 1972 to parents Kongo and Lulu. From the day she broke an arm at the age of five months, she captivated the public.

After 1983, Pattycake moved permanently to the much larger Bronx Zoo, where she gave birth to 10 infants, including twins in 1995. The brood is now divided among zoos across the United States.

"Pattycake was perhaps the best known gorilla at the Bronx Zoo, and an institution in New York City," said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo.

"Millions of children in New York City grew up with Pattycake at the Bronx Zoo. Pattycake was a very special animal and her presence will be deeply missed," he added.