BROWNSVILLE (ValleyCentral) — Gladys Porter Zoo staff are mourning the loss of a Western Lowland Gorilla who died last week.

The zoo issued a release on Wednesday commemorating the life of Martha, a gorilla who died unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 19.

Zookeepers noticed Martha was slow to respond on the morning of April 19. She was being treated for a urinary tract infection but no signs of a more serious illness were present. Martha passed away later that night. A preliminary inspection after her death revealed Martha suffered from multiple issues.

“Upon necropsy, we found that she had multiple organ abnormalities, which, in turn, created a life-ending cascade,” said Dr. Tom deMaar, the Zoo’s Senior Veterinarian. “The cascade began with fibrosing heart disease, which led to renal failure.” 

The zoo notes that gorillas are checked on a daily basis for any sign of illness.

Martha was 32-years-old and was the mother of six offspring. Two of her children, Margaret and Kruger, reside at Gladys Porter Zoo. She was the last gorilla born to the Zoo’s matriarch and patriarch, Katunga and Lamydoc.

Western lowland gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.