Koko the Gorilla Met Mister Rogers, Betty White, These Five Other Celebrities

Koko, the gorilla known for her sign language abilities and the pet kittens she kept, died Tuesday at the age of 46. Koko died in her sleep, said a release from The Gorilla Foundation.

Koko was a western lowland gorilla who was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971. That's where she started learning sign language from a young age until the project she was a part of moved to Stanford, California, and then to The Gorilla Foundation.

Most gorillas like Koko live in the wild for 30 to 40 years; in the care of humans, they can live as long as into their 50s, according to the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. During her lifetime, Koko met plenty of famous people who came to see her and marvel at her communication skills.

Celebrities Koko met:

Mister Rogers

Koko and Mister Rogers met while working on an episode of his famous show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Koko had been watching Mister Rogers on television since she was just a baby gorilla, and the two became fast friends, according to The Gorilla Foundation. Koko showed Mister Rogers how to sign "I love you."

Betty White

"Betty met Koko in 2004 and became best friends almost immediately," says the description of their meeting on The Gorilla Foundation's website. White even wrote about Koko in her book, and when Koko looked in the book she was able to point out White.

Robin Williams

Koko also had the chance to meet comedian Robin Williams. He called the experience "awesome and unforgettable." The two tickled one another, made silly faces and Koko examined Williams's wallet.

Jane Goodall

Although Jane Goodall works mostly with chimpanzees, she visited Koko and even asked her questions about life as a gorilla and the best way for humans to study chimpanzees.

In addition to these stars, Koko met many others who took the time to visit her. She met Leonardo DiCaprio, William Shatner, Sting and more. Shatner was one of many who posted a message about Koko to Twitter after the news of her death broke and he included a photo of them meeting.

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Koko the gorilla works with animal psychologist Francine “Penny” Patterson. Koko, a western lowland gorilla known for her impressive sign language skills, died in her sleep Tuesday morning at the age of 46, The Gorilla Foundation has reported. The Gorilla Foundation
Koko the Gorilla Met Mister Rogers, Betty White, These Five Other Celebrities | U.S.