THURMONT, Md. -- "Rocket" the giraffe at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo has died.
The Zoo's executive director said "Rocket" was five-years-old and lived at the Catoctin Zoo in Thurmont for the last three years.
The giraffe was about 12-feet tall, and those who worked with "Rocket" say it was always a pleasure and that the animal was exceptional.
"Rocket" had a growth near his stomach and small intestine, they're not sure yet if it was cancerous.
The zoo's director said they expected "Rocket" to have some health issues, but they weren't expecting him to go this soon.
"I can't praise his character too much. We could do things with him and he could do things with us, that most people can't do with their horses. We lift up his feet and all these things you're not supposed to be able to do, you could do with Rocket, he was just a sweetheart," says Richard Hahn, the executive director of the Zoo. "A lot of people came here, were with him, got pictures taken with him. Even the day before, [it's death] that would be Tuesday, when he stopped eating, we were letting people feed and browse, and letting people cut branches and things for him to eat."
They say giraffes typically live until they're 17-years-old. Anyone looking to give back in Rocket's name can contact the zoo.