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Colo in 2015. Photo Courtesy of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The world's oldest gorilla held in captivity died in her zoo habitat this week. Colo, the very first gorilla born in captivity, died Tuesday morning at the age of 60, according to a statement from the Columbus Zoo.

The western lowland gorilla was discovered to be dead in her habitat at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Colo had just celebrated her birthday less than one month before her passing on Dec. 22. The legendary gorilla died in her sleep, according to the zoo’s statement.

Colo was born in 1956. She remained the sole baby gorilla to be born in captivity for about five years. She went on to mother three offspring, and was the grandmother (or grand-gorilla?) of 16, was a great-grandmother to 12 and was even a great grandmother twice over to three.

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Colo the Gorilla in 1957 at the Columbus Zoo. Photo Courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

“Colo touched the hearts of generations of people who came to see her and those that cared for her over her long lifetime,” Columbus Zoo and Aquarium president and CEO Tom Staff said in the release. “She was an ambassador for gorillas and inspired people to learn more about the critically endangered species and motivated them to protect gorillas in their native habitat.”

Colo will be cremated and her ashes will be scattered somewhere within the Columbus Zoo. A postmortem examination will be conducted to confirm Colo’s actual cause of death. Colo was said to have not exhibited any signs or symptoms of illness in her final days.

The endangered western lowland gorilla is one of the most common subspecies of gorillas, according to World Wild Life. Poaching and disease of the gorillas have resulted in a more than 60 percent decline in population numbers over the course of the last 20 to 25 years.

The gorillas inhabit the Central African Republic and locations within the Congo Basin, among other areas in Africa. The average life expectancy of a western lowland gorilla living in the wild is estimated to be 35 years, according to National Geographic.