Polar Bear Knut's surrogate father Dörflein found dead of heart attack & cancer
09/24/2008 - Update:
An autopsy has shown Berlin's famous zookeeper Thomas Dörflein died of a heart attack, but Germany daily Bild reported Wednesday that Knut’s surrogate father was also suffering from cancer.
“Thomas had a long and difficult sickness,” his wife Daniela told Bild. The 44-year-old zookeeper had bladder cancer, she said.
Dörflein was away from the Berlin zoo for four weeks in April, the paper reported, implying that it was a health related accident and not vacation time.
Dörflein was found dead at a friend’s Wilmersdorf home and emergency services were unable to revive him. An autopsy on Tuesday revealed he had died of a heart attack. His wife told Bild that the family plans to bury him on October 13, his 45th birthday.
The mild-mannered zookeeper shot to fame along with superstar polar bear cub Knut as he raised the bear by hand in 2007. Knut drew millions of visitors and became so popular he even appeared on the cover of glossy US magazine Vanity Fair. Now an adult, Knut is showing disturbed behaviour, animal welfare groups say.
The Local (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thomas Dörflein, the zoo keeper in charge of rearing Berlin zoo's superstar polar bear Knut, has died, police said late on Monday.
There were no signs of any foul play and so far no indications the 44-year-old committed suicide although investigations were continuing, a police spokeswoman said.
Daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported on Tuesday that Dörflein was found dead in his flat in the Wilmersdorf area of Berlin.
Knut shot to fame as a cub in 2007, drawing huge crowds and even appearing on the cover of glossy US magazine Vanity Fair. Now an adult, Knut is now showing disturbed behaviour, animal welfare groups say.