Fifi, the matriarch of the 18 chimpanzees at Sydney's Taronga Zoo, celebrated her 60th birthday in May with sugar-free cupcakes and coconuts among four generations of her family.
But Fifi, who had arthritis in her later years, stayed in bed Thursday morning, raising suspicions among the keepers that she was unwell, the zoo said in a statement.
Keepers provided her with fresh bedding and her favorite foods, while other chimps in the group visited her throughout the day, the zoo said. She died in the afternoon.
"Keepers have been saddened by the peaceful passing of their oldest and much loved Chimpanzee, Fifi," the zoo said.
Humans and chimps have evolved separately since splitting from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago, but still have almost 99 percent of their gene sequences in common.
Chimps have an average life expectancy of about 45 years, but can live longer in captivity because of the health care and good diet they get.
Cheeta, the star of a dozen "Tarzan" movies in the 1930s and 1940s, is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest chimp. He turned 75 in April.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Temmuz 2007, 15:32