"[Murphy's] loss will be greatly felt by the staff and guests who loved him dearly."

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) — A Pennsylvania zoo is mourning the loss of one of their most beloved residents, known as the “gentle giant.”

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The Lehigh Valley Zoo says Murphy, the 20-year-old Masai giraffe, passed away on Tuesday.

According to the zoo, Murphy was being treated for a number of “age-related health ailments.” At 20, he was considered a “geriatric giraffe.”

The zoo says they were taking a number of steps toward preventative care for Murphy, including bloodwork, hoof X-rays and keeping him warm in their bar on cold days.

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“Despite all of this, he had a limited response to ongoing treatment efforts and the team made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize him early this morning,” his team said on Facebook.

The zoo says Murphy came to them in 2017 as an ambassador for his species. He also acted as a mentor for their younger giraffe named Tatu.

In their Facebook post, the zoo is remembering Murphy as one of their most iconic residents.

They add, “Murphy brought smiles to guests and staff through his lovable personality, charismatic presence and adorable ear wiggles. His loss will be greatly felt by the staff and guests who loved him dearly.”

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Zookeepers are now closely monitoring Tatu as he adjusts to life without Murphy.