Wildlife advocate Jack Hanna diagnosed with dementia, family says

Animal advocate Jack Hanna has been diagnosed with dementia, his family said in a statement shared on social media, Wednesday.

The statement said Hanna’s dementia, now believed to be Alzheimer’s disease, has progressed quickly over the past few months to the point where he’s no longer able to participate in such a public life.

"While Dad’s health has deteriorated quickly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor continues to shine through. And yes – he still wears his khakis at home," Hanna’s family said.

A former zookeeper who once was the director of the Columbus Zoo, Hanna, 74, has engaged with millions through television programs such as "Animal Adventures," "Into the Wild" and "Wild Countdown."

His family asked for privacy, "which is ironic given Dad’s love of interacting with people," the statement said. "We are grateful that the many hearts he’s touched over the years are with him during this journey, which gives us strength."