In case you don’t know, like I didn’t know, here’s how you sign “sad” in ASL. Or if you can’t watch that video and want to show the proper emotion for the death of a gold-hearted icon, bawl your eyeballs out while doing an extra wall slide of pure, potent sadness. Because it is a sad day.
Koko, who became an international legend when she mastered sign language, died in her sleep on Tuesday morning at her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Woodside, CA. She was 46.
The Gorilla Foundation gave this statement about Koko’s death:
“Her impact has been profound and what she has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities will continue to shape the world.”
Koko (born name: Hanabiko) was born at the San Francisco Zoo on the Fourth of July in 1971. They named her Hanabiko, because it means “fireworks child” in Japanese. Animal psychologist and Koko’s forever caretaker, Dr. Francine “Penny” Patterson, started teaching her American Sign Language when she was 1 years old. Koko eventually learned more than 1,000 words in sign language (including the most important one: the international sign for FUCK YOU) and could understand 2,000 words in spoken English. In other words, Koko knew English better than I do.
Because Koko wasn’t already talented and intelligent enough, she learned how to play the recorder and passed the Mirror Self-Recognition Test which many gorillas got an F in. Instagram THOTs should lower a pack of Flat Tummy Tea at half-mast today, because Koko was one of the original selfie stars. Her 1978 National Geographic cover was a selfie she took in the mirror. Koko made the cover of National Geographic again in 1985, and one of her many precious pussies joined her.
— Nat Geo Channel (@NatGeoChannel) June 21, 2018
Koko’s love for adorable pussies started in 1983 when she asked for a cat. They brought her what they thought was a lifelike stuffed cat toy. They must’ve thought they were dealing with one stupid-brained dumb fuck, because Koko didn’t buy it and let them know she was not amused. They righted that wrong on her birthday in 1984 when they brought her a litter of abandoned kittens to choose from. She chose one and named the kitten All Ball. All Ball died later that year after getting out of Koko’s cage and getting hit by a car. Over the years, she had many pet cats, like Lipstick, Smoky, Miss Black, and Miss Grey. Dr. Penny wrote a children’s book in 1985 called Koko’s Kitten.
This video of Koko finding out that All Ball died brings all the bawls:
Since Koko was a celebrity herself, she naturally mingled with famous people like Mr. Rogers:
And Robin Williams, whose death she mourned:
Rest in peace, Koko. Robin Williams and your kitten better have thrown you the biggest welcome party that heaven has ever seen.