The Calgary Zoo says silverback gorilla, Kakinga, passed away Saturday night at the age of 37.
The cause of death was large tear in his aorta.
The Zoo says it is one of the well-recognized causes of mortality in gorillas.
Kakinga fathered 13 offspring, eight of which are surviving with the most recent being born just this past March at the zoo.
The median age for gorillas in captivity is 31.1 years.
Zoo officials say it might be a while before another male silverback gorilla is introduced at the Calgary Zoo.
Curator Dr. Malu Celli says they have a lot of factors needing to be weighed.
“The baby could be at risk, so we will try to pick the best we can, a male,” Celli told reporters on Monday. “One being available that is the right temperament for the group that knows how to be a silverback.”
They have to be cautious, and she predicts it might take 6-18 months to make that decision.
“You never know what you’re going to get and you never know how they’re going to react once you put them into a situation.”