With the news of his passing, people around the world are mourning the loss of Robin Williams, a renowned actor and comedian who lent his voice and used the power of his celebrity to further the cause of conservation. Among those saddened by the news of Williams’ death is a gorilla named Koko.
Back in 2001, Williams visited the Gorilla Foundation in California where he forged a very special bond with Koko, who is fluent in American Sign Language.
According to Today.com, it was an encounter that Williams called “mind altering.”
During his visit, the two tickled, held hands, and hugged one and other like old friends.
At the time of his visit, Koko had been depressed since the death of childhood friend who had passed 6 months earlier. Williams was the first one to make her smile.
According to Koko’s surrogate mother, Dr. Penny Patterson, Koko thoroughly enjoyed her time with Williams.
The gorilla recently watched a documentary Williams did on dolphins, and she had watched “Awakenings” over and over again.
On Monday, Koko overheard Dr. Patterson, talking on the phone about Williams’ death.
“I just said Koko we’ve lost a dear friend, you remember Robin?”
According to Patterson, Koko became extremely sad, as she sat hunched over with a quivering lip. She even signed the words ‘cry lip.’
The Gorilla Foundation, offer their condolences, but at the same time ask people to celebrate all he did on behalf of gorillas, like Koko:
“Koko and Robin’s encounter is a supreme example of how humans and gorillas can overcome interspecies boundaries and express the highest form of empathy — embracing differences. Robin’s ability to just ‘hang out’ with Koko, a gorilla, and in minutes become one of her closest friends, was extraordinary and unforgettable for Koko.
“And when you remember Robin Williams, remember that he is not only one of the world’s most beloved entertainers, he is also one of the world’s most powerful ambassadors for great ape conservation.”