April the Giraffe's Calf, Azizi, Dies Suddenly at East Texas Zoo

The East Texas Zoo and Gator Park, and fans around the world, are mourning the loss of Azizi, the 19-month-old calf of April the Giraffe. Azizi died of an "unexpected and unpreventable" condition Tuesday after having recently been treated for a parasitic issue, the zoo said in a statement.

According to a statement from the East Texas Zoo and Gator Park that was shared to Facebook Wednesday, Azizi "had recently received treatment for a parasitic issue" and had been prescribed a "regimen of treatments" from the veterinary staff. Although the calf showed signs of improvement, "on Tuesday, Azizi was down, and passed during a veterinary examination." A post-mortem examination revealed Azizi had a twisted gut around his cranial mesenteric artery, which caused his death. The zoo said "the condition was entirely unexpected and unpreventable." In the statement, they said Azizi "will be remembered fondly and deeply missed. We appreciate your support during this difficult time."

Azizi became an internet sensation thanks to his mom April's stardom, which began after the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York live streamed the birth of her first calf, Tajiri, in February of 2017. That YouTube stream garnered more than 232 million live views, with more than 14 million tuning into the stream on the day of Tajiri's April birth and 1.2 million watching the birth as it happened, PEOPLE reported at the time.

In July of 2018, the Animal Adventure Park announced that April was pregnant again, with owner Jordan Patch announcing, "the results are in and we are having a baby." He also confirmed that “the camera is up, and rolling, and they're watching right now.” In February of 2019, the park revealed that they expected April to give birth in March, and more than 300,000 people watched Azizi's birth live on YouTube on March 16.

"We join the East Texas Zoo and Gator Park in mourning the loss of Azizi, who passed unexpectedly at their facility on Tuesday. Azizi was the most recent, and last, calf of April the Giraffe. We know that Azizi's passing could not have been predicted nor prevented," the park wrote in response to news of Azizi's death. "His loss is absolutely devastating to our team, and he will be loved, missed, and cherished by the global Animal Adventure Park community. This news is heartbreaking, and we extend our condolences and support to the facility that Azizi called home."