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Jack Hanna diagnosed with dementia, family says his health has ‘deteriorated quickly

Jack Hanna, a wildlife conservationist, TV host and former executive director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been diagnosed with dementia, according to a statement by his daughters. “Doctors have diagnosed our dad, Jack Hanna, with dementia, now believed to be Alzheimer’s disease. His condition has progressed much faster in the last few months than any of us could have anticipated. Sadly, Dad is no longer able to participate in public life as he used to, where people all over the world watched, learned and laughed alongside him,” Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie Hanna said in a statement. “A passion for wildlife conservation and education has been at the core of who our dad is and everything he has accomplished with the help of so many. He has spent his life connecting people and wildlife because he has always believed that having people see and experience animals is key to engaging them in more impactful conservation efforts. He’s always said, ‘You have to touch the heart to teach the mind.’

Even though Dad is no longer able to travel and work in the same way, we know that his infectious enthusiasm has touched many hearts and will continue to be his legacy.” Hanna, 74, hosted the television shows “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” from 1993 to 2008, “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” since 2007 and “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown” from 2011 to 2020. “Jungle” Jack, who always wore khaki, served as executive director of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The daughters said, “The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been a major part of our lives since we moved to Central Ohio as young girls in 1978. From day one, Dad advocated for improved wildlife habitats and focused on connecting the community with animals. After he left his active management role as Executive Director in 1992, he continued to be a spokesperson for the zoo until his retirement last year.” The family said that Jack Hanna was able to engage “with millions of households through his media appearances and weekly television programs.” “This allowed him to bring an unparalleled level of awareness to the importance of global conservation given the unrelenting pressures on the natural environment. To say that we are abundantly proud to be his daughters is an understatement.” Hanna’s wife, Suzi, the daughters said, is recovering from “major surgery” as a result of “life-long challenges from her childhood leukemia.” The family asked for privacy “to keep everyone safe in light of COVID-19 restrictions.” “While Dad’s health has deteriorated quickly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor continues to shine through. And yes – he still wears his khakis at home.”

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by Anonymousreply 38Last Thursday at 1:39 PM

At least a pissed off stingray didn't puncture his heart.

by Anonymousreply 104/07/2021

I always liked Jack's humor.

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by Anonymousreply 204/07/2021

and..? Is this truly newsworthy? Isn't he really old?

by Anonymousreply 304/07/2021

He’s seemed somewhat out of it for some time, if you ask me.

by Anonymousreply 404/07/2021

74 is not THAT old...

by Anonymousreply 504/07/2021

YES, it is.

by Anonymousreply 604/07/2021

He's been crackers for years.

by Anonymousreply 704/07/2021

Aw. I have always liked him.

by Anonymousreply 804/07/2021

He's just an exotic animal pimp, trotting them around on the talk shows, defending SeaWorld for cash, etc.

Conservationist my ass.

by Anonymousreply 904/07/2021

74 is not old at all. That’s very young for Alzheimer’s. This is a real shame. :(

by Anonymousreply 1004/07/2021

Always showed his big package by squatting down and holding animals.

by Anonymousreply 1104/07/2021

Horrible disease. It affected someone in my family. They are practically immobile and we have gotten accustomed to speaking about them like they are not even in the room.

by Anonymousreply 1204/07/2021

I have a feeling his health 'deteriorated quickly', as in as soon as the family finished looking into how much $$$ they'd get when he kicked....

by Anonymousreply 1304/07/2021

Fuck you, 2021.

by Anonymousreply 1404/07/2021

This is extremely sad. I have always liked him. He was cute and loved animals and seemed like a good guy.

by Anonymousreply 1504/07/2021

Ah, this makes me sad.

Jack was a hot daddy.

by Anonymousreply 1604/07/2021

Sad news.

I used to teach second grade in one of the Columbus suburbs back when the zoo was just starting to become a big deal under him. He came to our school once and after the assembly literally went class to class (with a snake) and talked with the kids personally. I was really impressed by that. I’m sure the kids never forgot.

by Anonymousreply 1704/07/2021

Sad news. I always liked the cartoons he did with his partner. Wonder how Joseph Barbera is taking all of this.

by Anonymousreply 1804/07/2021

I was saddened to read this today. I watched Letterman religiously on his late night NBC show and enjoyed Jack’s visits. Part of his appeal was that he was so hyper and didn’t always have the best control over the animals.

A coworker and I were just talking about dementia/Alzheimer’s today. Her father-in-law has it very bad right now and he’s only 70. What a horrible disease.

by Anonymousreply 1904/07/2021

save those slopping piles, oldies!

by Anonymousreply 2004/07/2021

I hope he remembers how smokin’ hot sexy I always thought he was.

by Anonymousreply 2104/07/2021

He may have had knowledge animal sexual abuse at the Columbus Zoo, where he served as Director and then Director Emeritus. Reportedly he allegedly refused to do anything about it, made light of it, and helped cover it up.

[quote] Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna resigned his position and formally severed other contractual ties to the organization on Monday, more than six months after allegations of romantic relationships between humans and animals at the zoo first came to light. In early January, rumors of sexual impropriety at the zoo started reaching the Columbus ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), which launched a formal investigation shortly thereafter.

[quote]Hanna’s involvement began in February, when he was first asked by ASPCA investigators whether he was aware of any inappropriate activities being undertaken by zoo staff. Although Hanna answered no at that time, emails and other documents released by the zoo later revealed that he was indeed aware of the activities and had taken steps to cover them up.

[quote]One email, addressed to “J.J.” (Jungle Jack) in November of 2010, read as follows: “Terrelle Briar (zookeeper) let some guys in last night. Gave access to Kiki’s cage (female koala bear). Heard a lot of gasping and grunting. One man mentioned ‘banging hairy Australian ass.’ Concerned they were having sex with her. Should I inform Rick (Zoo Manager)?”

[quote]Hanna responded by saying he would look into the matter personally, but never did. Instead, he reached out to Briar’s hometown mentor, Ned Karniak, a man he first met in 2008 when he was recruiting the nation’s top zookeeping prospect to bring his talents to Columbus.

[quote]In a text message sent to Karniak, Hanna said, “Terrelle may be caught up in something here in Columbus. May involve animal ass and penis. Please call me ASAP.”


Again: "conservationist" my ass.

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by Anonymousreply 2204/07/2021


by Anonymousreply 2304/07/2021

I never liked his vocal delivery. I found it grating, and uneccessarily loud. But I'm sorry he's having to go through this. It should be reserved for people like DJT.

by Anonymousreply 2404/07/2021

The delaware county news site is a bad version of The Onion. It’s not real. That being said it was the top of the news tonight in Columbus and follows a couple weeks of bad news that’s seen the CEO and CFO leave the zoo due to financial impropriety

by Anonymousreply 2504/07/2021

R25, thanks for the correction.

by Anonymousreply 2604/07/2021

I was sad to hear this this morning. I don't know how much of his act was genuine/put on but he played the harmless goof thing well.

I am 65 and have been having dementia problems myself for the last few years. It has been progressing quite a bit this last year.

by Anonymousreply 2704/07/2021

He's still a jerk-off.

by Anonymousreply 2804/07/2021

Jack Hanna is dead to me. Just watched it on the news. The animals have lost a friend. RIP

by Anonymousreply 29Last Thursday at 4:05 AM

R2- He was so YOUNG and good looking on the Lettermen show. He's SO OLD looking now.

by Anonymousreply 30Last Thursday at 4:35 AM

My mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's in her early 60s. She's now 67 and has declined a lot in the past year, to the point it's hard for her to string together a complete sentence.

She saw the news and when asked how she felt about it, answered, "Sad." But nothing else. (For some context, she knew who Jack Hanna was and visited the Columbus Zoo many times over the years.)

I always wonder: to what extent does she know what's happening to her? Can she grasp she has the same disease as Jack Hanna? And when I talk to her and try to keep her mind active -- "Mom, what's your favorite bird?" "I don't know." "What about the red one?" "Oh yes, I like cardinals" -- does she know I'm talking to her like she's a child? Does it bother her?

What does she think about? She tells me, "I talk to God a lot." What does she tell him? (I am agnostic, but I know she takes -- or took -- great comfort in her faith.) Is she scared to die? Does she understand she's dying? Will she still "talk" to God when she loses her ability to communicate with the rest of us?

As someone mentioned upthread, it's a terrible disease.

by Anonymousreply 31Last Thursday at 4:46 AM

My dad had dementia and died a couple of years ago. He didn’t really get bad until his 80s, and he still knew me until the end. Well, I think he sometimes just knew he was SUPPOSED to know me. It was so sad. He was always an active, fit, outdoorsy person, but had to spend the last year and a half or so of his life in a small apartment in his nursing home. I did have some of his sisters to help me with him sometimes, but it really fell to me to be in charge and handle everything. My mother and only sibling passed away years ago. I would have loved to have been able to resolve some things with him before he was gone, but it’s not to be, and now my whole immediate family is gone. Sigh.

Anyway, poor Jack Hanna. I always thought he was a hot daddy.

by Anonymousreply 32Last Thursday at 5:53 AM

[quote] The animals have lost a friend. RIP


by Anonymousreply 33Last Thursday at 6:00 AM

He shouldn’t have to quit. I mean look the president and he does just fine with his dementia! 🤡

by Anonymousreply 34Last Thursday at 6:05 AM

Give it a rest, r34

by Anonymousreply 35Last Thursday at 11:39 AM

This is wordy so skip it if you’re not interested.

I’ve talked about my great aunt on here in the past. She was such a wonderful woman. Never heard her say a negative thing about anyone. She was widowed fairly young and had one son who became an alcoholic. She didn’t have a real relationship with him because he was so bad. She raised her grandson and lived alone when he moved away to university. She was very active - going to church every Sunday and walking downtown to get her groceries. She would then take a taxi home.

Around age 90 I noticed she was repeating things in conversations when I’d visit her. Then, as time passed, she talked about spending time with people who’d been dead for years like her mother and father. She’d say, “I milked cows with dad today.” My family was worried because we didn’t think it was safe for her to be alone anymore. We were afraid of her leaving the stove on or not locking her door at night.

Her grandson soon moved her closer to where he lived. We’d go visit her an hour away. She was in a nursing home the final years of her life and Alzheimer’s took its toll. She eventually no longer recognized us before finally losing the ability to speak and walk. Soul crushing. She lived to be 100, but the last 10 years of her life I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It doesn’t seem right that such a good person’s life ended this way. I think of her sometimes.

by Anonymousreply 36Last Thursday at 1:35 PM

These threads always make me tear up.

I knew losing my mom to Alzheimer's would be hard. But in my naivete, I never thought it would be this hard.

by Anonymousreply 37Last Thursday at 1:37 PM

THIS is what it sounds like when doves cry.

by Anonymousreply 38Last Thursday at 1:39 PM
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