"Jungle Jack" Hanna Diagnosed with Dementia, Retiring from Public Life

Photo credit: ABC-6

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN)--The family of Jack Hanna says the former Director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been diagnosed with dementia, and possibly has advanced Alzheimer's.

A statement released on Wednesday says his condition has progressed much faster than anticipated, and he is retiring from public life.

Hanna was the face of the Columbus Zoo for decades, joining the organization as Director in 1978. He served in that role until 1992, but continued his mission of wildlife education and conservation through syndicated TV shows and appearances on talk shows, like "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Hanna officially retired as Director Emeritus of the zoo in December 2020.

The family is asking for privacy at this time.

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