Beloved Brevard Zoo giraffe dies: 'You will be missed, Rafiki'

A beloved giraffe at the Brevard Zoo has died.

Rafiki was humanely euthanized on Sunday following ongoing age-related medical issues, zoo officials announced on the Brevard Zoo's website.

He was one of the zoo's original five giraffes to arrive at the zoo's "Expedition Africa" when it opened in 2003.

"Rafiki was the first animal to arrive at the Zoo for Africa, and he walked off the trailer ready to make his mark capturing the hearts of everyone he came across," Jon Brangan, Deputy Director of Brevard Zoo, said in a statement. "His magnetic personality never wavered, bringing joy to our staff, volunteers and thousands of visiting guests for nearly 20 years. He will be profoundly missed by our Zoo family and our entire community."

Rafiki was 25 years old. Zoo officials said the median lifespan for male giraffes is about 15 years.

The zoo said Rafiki's legacy will live on through his 2-year-old son, Mapenzi, who will become the new breeding male giraffe.