Booie, the smoking chimpanzee, dies at 44

December 14, 2011 - 10:11 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A chimpanzee that kicked a smoking habit and used sign language to beg for candy has died at a California animal refuge.

Martine Colette of the Wildlife WayStation says Booie (BOO'-ee) was being treated for a heart condition when he died Saturday at 44. The chimp had been living at the animal sanctuary near Los Angeles since 1995, after he retired from a research lab.

Colette says she turned Booie into a non-smoker but couldn't fix his sweet tooth. She says he would use his skill to panhandle by signing: "Booie see sweet in pocket."

Booie's death is a serious blow to the financially troubled refuge because he was one of its best fundraisers. Martine says he had fans around the world because of his TV appearances.

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Online:

http://www.wildlifewaystation.org