COLUMBUS, Ohio — Outpouring messages of support spread across social media on Wednesday after Jack Hanna's family revealed the former Columbus zoo director was diagnosed with dementia and will retire from public life.
His family made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in a letter.
Jack's daughters, Kathaleen, Suzane and Julie Hanna stated their dad was diagnosed with dementia and it is now believed to be Alzheimer's disease. His condition progressed much faster than expected in the last few months.
From the governor's office to sports figures, people expressed their feelings for Hanna.
Along his journey Jungle Jack made connections with many people, including Angela Pace, a former 10TV anchor and current Director of Community Affairs.
Pace worked alongside Hanna on a Friday show called “Zoo Day”.
“Thank you for being my friend, thank you for always giving me a hug when you see me, thank you for always making me feel special…because Jack you’re special to me,” Pace said.
Over the years Hanna was able to share his love of animals with Bryon Stripling, director of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.
Stripling said he knows exactly what Hanna and his family faces ahead. His father too had dementia which led to Alzheimer's.
“I would sing to him, what the world needs now is love sweet the only thing that there’s just too little of,” said Stripling.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, ESPN analyst Dick Vitale and others took to social media to express their feelings about Jack.
His daughters said that while their father's health has deteriorated quickly, his great sense of humor continues to shine through.
To read the full letter from Hanna's family, click here.