For decades, fans invited Jack Hanna into their homes as the beloved zookeeper starred on Animal Adventures, Into the Wild and Wild Countdown. The Emmy Award winner dedicated countless years to his work as an animal expert, and his legacy is something his daughters, Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie, are “abundantly proud” of.
Though Jack is known for being a TV personality and director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, behind the scenes, he is a loving dad of three kids. The Tennessee native shares his children with his longtime wife, Suzi Egli. Jack and the wildlife conservationist married more than 50 years ago in 1963.
Throughout the years, Jack’s girls have been featured on their dad’s show. In addition to starring in his own series, Jack also frequently visited talk shows with animals, like the time he brought twin baby gorillas to Good Morning America in 1983. One of his daughters even tagged along when he appeared on Late Show with David Letterman with a baby onyx in 2011.
Sadly, Jack’s family revealed he was diagnosed with dementia, which is “now believed to be Alzheimer’s disease.” Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie announced the heartbreaking news in a lengthy statement on Twitter in April 2021.
“His condition has progressed much faster in the last few months than any of us could have anticipated,” the statement read. “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.”
In the message, Jack’s daughters recalled the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium being “a major part of [their] lives” since he was named director in 1978. “From day one, Dad advocated for improved wildlife habitats and focused on connecting the community with animals,” they penned. “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.”
Because of everything Jack has accomplished in his life, including bringing an “unparalleled level of awareness to the importance of global conservation,” the TV star’s children praised their father for his illustrious career. “To say that we are abundantly proud to be his daughters is an understatement,” they gushed.
Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie also credited their mom for being Jack’s “rock” during the “difficult” time. “And ours too,” the trio added. “Our mom – Suzi – has been by his side for 53 years in every corner of the world. We have great respect and admiration for Mom.”
We’re sending our best wishes to the Hanna family.
For more on Jack’s daughters, keep scrolling below.
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