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Viral star April the Giraffe has died, Animal Adventure Park says

It was nearly four years ago, on April 15, 2017, that April the Giraffe finally gave birth at Animal Adventure Park.

WASHINGTON — April the giraffe, who became a viral sensation as fans all around the world waited weeks to watch her give birth, has died. 

Animal Adventure Park announced April was euthanized Friday morning "due to her worsening arthritis, in accordance with the recommendations of her veterinary team." 

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that Animal Adventure Park announces the tremendous loss of our beloved April the Giraffe," the park posted on Facebook. "We grieve with her many fans, near and far, as we say goodbye to the giraffe that can be credited with making a foothold for giraffe and giraffe conservation awareness in the 21st century." 

It was nearly four years ago, on April 15, 2017, that April the Giraffe finally gave birth. The world had waited and fans anxiously watched for weeks before the little one finally made an appearance.

April drew more than 232 million YouTube live views from the camera at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, N.Y. during the seven weeks before she finally gave birth to her calf, Tajiri. At the time of his birth, 1.2 million people were watching on the park's YouTube stream. 

April was 20 years old. Animal Adventure Park noted that the average life expectancy for a giraffe in "captive management" is between 20-25 years. 

"April’s most recent veterinary exam identified the acceleration of April’s condition, prompting the determination that euthanasia was the humane and appropriate course of action," the park said in its post Friday. 

April had been with Animal Adventure Park since August of 2015 and Tajiri was her first calf born at the park. All the excitement surrounding April's pregnancy even led to some friendships forming among fans who met online while watching to see when April would give birth. 

RELATED: 3 years later: A look back at 'April the Giraffe' mania

Animal Adventure Park said April will be cremated and her ashes will be returned to the park. 

Credit: Animal Adventure Park
FILE: April the Giraffe and baby Azizi in 2019

In June 2019, it was announced April started contraceptives and she retired from the park's breeding program. In total, April gave birth five times before being put on contraceptives.

Azizi, April's youngest calf, unexpectedly died back in Oct. 2020. 

RELATED: No more babies: April the Giraffe is going on birth control

RELATED: Meet Azizi: April the giraffe's baby boy has a name