CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – One of the Chattanooga Zoo's featured inhabitants has died.

Hank the Chimpanzee died in his sleep Monday. He was found in his habitat by zoo keepers.

Hank was 42-years-old.

Timeline of Hank's Life

1968- Hank is born in the rainforests of Africa.

1969- Hank is captured and sold to a circus.

1976- Hank is donated to the Warner Park Zoo.

1985- Friends of the Zoo is established.

1992- "Hanks Playground" is built allowing him to walk on grass for the first time in 16 years.

2001- Five chimps from Fort Worth Zoo arrive in Chattanooga.

2005- Hank is introduced to Josie, the Zoo's eldest female chimp. Hank's first physical contact with another chimp in over 29 years.

2008- Hank celebrates his 40th birthday.

2011- Hank dies at the age of 42.

Hank was born in the rainforests of Africa in 1968 before he was captured and performed in a circus.

When Hank reached adulthood, he became too aggressive for the circus to keep and in 1976, he was donated to the then-Warner Park Zoo.

As the oldest resident of the Chattanooga Zoo, Hank's birthday was celebrated as "Hank's Day" each year.

"Hank had a great life.  He lived past his life expectancy and enjoyed good health for many years.  His long life is a testament to the great care provided by the staff of the Chattanooga Zoo," said Dr. Mickey Meyers, one of Hank's veterinarians.

"Hank was a very dear friend to anyone coming to visit with him.  He loved his many visitors and could get even the most straight-laced adults to do funny things to garner his attention. This is a huge loss for us, but we all have our memories of this incredible creature and the difference he made at the Zoo," said Chattanooga Zoo Executive Director Darde Long.

"I am saddened to hear of Hank's death.  For 42 years, Hank was the center of attention at the Chattanooga Zoo.  The beloved mascot was a long-term, treasured member of the community and will be sorely missed," added Mayor Ron Littlefield.

A necropsy will be performed to determine an exact cause of death. Zoo officials say they will release the details when they become available.