Not only did the late comedian have a way to bring joy to people's lives, but it looks like it also extended to animals.
There's something incredible in the way animals bond with humans. Robin Williams had an undeniable knack to connect with people through art. Whether it was his heartwarming movies or hilarious jokes, he always knew how to strike a chord with humans. But when he met Koko the gorilla back in 2001, it was clear that the late actor had an amazing ability to connect with animals too.
every1 shut up and look at robin williams and koko pic.twitter.com/VIOIxem9Wc— idiot (@curiouslycheese) April 25, 2021
Koko is no ordinary gorilla. She had become popular after learning a version of the American Sign Language (ASL) and could communicate with her handlers. Williams met Koko in 2001 when he visited the Gorilla Foundation in California, and the two immediately hit it off and had a unique connection. "I recently had a mind-altering experience communicating with a gorilla. Her name is Koko," said Williams at the time, according to TODAY. Koko was not her usual self as she was mourning the loss of her playmate, Michael, who died about six months earlier. But that slowly changed when she met the renowned actor.
Koko the gorilla was famous for raising cats and playing with late comedian Robin Williams. The animal best known for learning sign language has died at 46. https://t.co/Q4AXRXkZP3— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) June 21, 2018
"We shared something extraordinary: Laughter. Koko understands spoken English and uses over 1,000 signs to share her feelings and thoughts about daily events, life, love, even death. It was awesome and unforgettable," Williams said. The two laughed together. She even pulled his glasses off his face and tried them on. She also picked his pocket, producing his wallet and rifling through it. At one point, she even requested him to tickle her! By the end of their meeting, Koko kissed Williams' hand, then pulled him in for a big warm embrace. Check out their interaction below!
"Koko instantly connected with Robin," said Dr. Penny Patterson, the foundation's president, and the gorilla's foster mother, as per BuzzFeed News. "Koko, like us, can sense a person's nature, and in this case, she was quickly drawn to Robin's warm heart." Their meeting was so special that when she learned of Williams's death in 2014, "She became extremely sad," said Patterson, according to Today. Koko reportedly signed "cry." Koko apparently became very somber, with her head bowed and her lip quivering.
At the time of his death, the Gorilla Foundation shared a video of the aactor'smeeting with Koko to honor his life, "which was a profound gift to humanity—and to other great apes like Koko."Dr. Patterson also recalled the special visit, "Robin made Koko smile—something she hadn't done for over six months, ever since her childhood gorilla companion, Michael, passed away. Not only did Robin cheer up Koko, the effect was mutual. Robin seemed transformed from a high-energy entertainer to a mellow, sensitive, empathetic guy who also happened to be really funny." Koko passed away in her sleep just several days shy of her 47th birthday on July 4 in 2018. But her memory will truly live on for decades to come.