The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and its visitors are mourning the loss of Blackie, a Nile hippopotamus.

In a release, the Zoo says the hippo was euthanized Monday due to ailments associated with advanced age.

Blackie was 59 and is believed to be the oldest male Nile hippo ever recorded.

During his time at the Zoo, the hippo sired three offspring, all males. Blackie was a fan favorite for both visitors and staff members alike.

To help the hippo as it aged, the Zoo built a special addition with a heated pool at the Africa barn in 2008. The Zoo says Blackie lived out his last years contentedly eating lots of produce and floating in the pool which he didn't have to share.

Black came to the Zoo from Africa in 1955 when he was about a year old.

Hippos are classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Hippo populations are declining due to habitat loss and poaching but are still found over a large range of eastern and southern Africa.

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