Ling Ling, Japan's oldest giant panda, dies

AP photoLing Ling.

AP photoLing Ling.

TOKYO " Japan's oldest giant panda, Ling Ling, a longtime star at Tokyo's largest zoo and a symbol of friendship with China, died Wednesday of heart failure, zookeepers said.

Ling Ling was 22 years and seven months old, equivalent to about 70 human years, the Ueno Zoo said. It said he was the fifth-oldest known male panda in the world.

Ling Ling began losing his appetite and strength last August because of his old age, and recently suffered from heart and kidney problems, zoo official Motoyasu Ida said.

Ling Ling's portrait was displayed inside his cage, along with bouquets and offerings of his favorite bamboo shoots.

An autopsy found he died of heart failure, Ida said.

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