Beloved Animal Expert Jack Hanna Diagnosed with Dementia, Retires from Public Life

Kathy Hutchins /

Famed celebrity zookeeper and animal TV show host Jack Hanna has been diagnosed with dementia thought to be Alzheimer’s, his family announced Wednesday.

“Today, we reach out to share some personal Hanna Family news,” his children, Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie, said in a letter. “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.”

The family asked for privacy during this time. “To keep everyone safe in light of COVID-19 restrictions, we are asking for privacy, which is ironic given Dad’s love of interacting with people. We are grateful that the many hearts he’s touched over the years are with him during this journey, which gives us strength. “

Read the full letter here.