Robin Williams is being remembered for his acting talents, his comic genius - and one moment we didn't see coming: the time he met Koko the gorilla. In 2001, Williams met Koko, a female who, her caregiver says, can understand sign language. Tuesday, The Gorilla Foundation posted video of their meeting.
The foundation also published a note saying Koko had seen her team learn the news of Williams' passing, and by the end of the day, "Koko became very somber, with her head bowed and her lip quivering." Basically, the story of Koko mourning Williams is going viral. There is a bit of skepticism to be had here - when celebrities die, there are always people and organizations who try to capitalize off the media attention. The wording of the press release asks the public to remember Williams as one of the most powerful ambassadors of ape conservation. The actor's meeting with Koko has certainly made an impact - it's being called charming and incredibly moving.
Ultimately, of all the things to remember Williams for - his films, his stand-up comedy - this seems like a surprising moment to make headlines. But it might be because the encounter does exemplify the two qualities people seem to be remembering about him most: his comedic talents and his generosity.
According to The Gorilla Foundation, Williams tickled Koko and made her smile for the first time in months since she'd lost her gorilla companion, Michael. And the New York Post reports he filmed a PSA with her in 2004. The meeting stuck with Williams - he'd talk about Koko in his stand-up routines and spoke about her on "Ellen."
You can watch the full video of Robin and Koko's meeting at Koko.org.
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