Texas-born orangutan dies after worsening illness

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This undated photo released by The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium shows Willie, a 20-year-old Sumatran orangutan. Willie has died at the zoo after battling a respiratory disease for years.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

A 20-year-old Sumatran orangutan has died at an Ohio zoo after battling a respiratory disease for years.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said Wednesday that the orangutan named Willie had periodic infections and pneumonia and had been trained to take an inhaler.

The zoo says he underwent a lung washing and other procedures on Tuesday after staff noted his condition had worsened. He was thought to be recovering when he died overnight.

The zoo now has two Sumatran orangutans, Tara and Sally, who was paired to breed with Willie.

Willie was born at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, in 1991. He has been at the Columbus zoo since 2002 on a breeding recommendation.

The median life expectancy for a male orangutan is 21 years.