Jack Hanna, 74, has been diagnosed with dementia thought to be Alzheimer’s

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The family of respected animal expert Jack Hanna has announced that he has been diagnosed with dementia.

In a letter shared Wednesday, his three children revealed that the 74-year-old nature lover known for his khaki zookeeper attire and brown Indiana Jones-style leather hat may have Alzheimer’s disease.

Hanna was best known for bringing unusual animals to the breakfast chat show Good Morning America and The Late Show With David Letterman.

Health Update: The family of respected animal expert Jack Hanna has announced that he has been diagnosed with dementia.  In a letter shared Wednesday, his three children revealed that the 74-year-old nature lover may have Alzheimer's disease.  Seen in 2017

Health Update: The family of respected animal expert Jack Hanna has announced that he has been diagnosed with dementia. In a letter shared Wednesday, his three children revealed that the 74-year-old nature lover may have Alzheimer’s disease. Seen in 2017

Nearly 30 years ago: His day job was as director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium;  seen in 1992

Nearly 30 years ago: His day job was as director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium;  seen in 1992

Nearly 30 years ago: His day job was as director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; seen in 1992

His day job was as director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

“We’ll be in touch today to share personal Hanna Family news,” his children Kathaleen, Suzanne, and Julie said in a letter.

“Doctors have determined that our father, Jack Hanna, has dementia believed to be Alzheimer’s.”

Family time: here's a photo from his Facebook page with his wife since 1968 Suzi Egli and their three daughters Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie

Family time: here's a photo from his Facebook page with his wife since 1968 Suzi Egli and their three daughters Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie

Family time: here’s a photo from his Facebook page with his wife since 1968 Suzi Egli and their three daughters Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie

Some very early days: The family also posted this image of Jack and his children from the 1970s

Some very early days: The family also posted this image of Jack and his children from the 1970s

Some very early days: The family also posted this image of Jack and his children from the 1970s

The Sincere Note: The letter got straight to the point, then shared some moving anecdotes about Jack

The Sincere Note: The letter got straight to the point, then shared some moving anecdotes about Jack

The Sincere Note: The letter got straight to the point, then shared some moving anecdotes about Jack

And his kids added that the dementia is fast.

WHAT IS DEMENTIA?

Dementia describes a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social skills severely enough to interfere with your daily life. It is not a specific disease, but several diseases can cause dementia.

While dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss has several causes. Just having amnesia doesn’t mean you have dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia in older adults, but there are a number of causes of dementia. Depending on the cause, some of the symptoms of dementia can be reversible.

Information provided by the Mayo Clinic

“His condition has progressed much faster in recent months than any of us could have expected,” the letter read.

“Unfortunately, Dad can no longer participate in public life like he used to, where people all over the world watched, learned and laughed with him.”

But the letter added, “ While Dad’s health has deteriorated rapidly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor still shows up.

“And yes – he still wears his khaki at home.”

The Hanna family asked for privacy.

“That’s ironic, given Dad’s love of interacting with people,” they wrote.

“We are grateful that the many hearts he has touched over the years are with him on this journey that gives us strength.”

He appeared on Good Morning America in the early 1980s, often melting audiences’ hearts when he brought live animals to the set.

The star kept its composure as the exotic animals – ranging from lizards to baby gorillas and young leopards – often climbed or ran on it, causing temporary havoc.

He has also appeared on Entertainment Tonight, Larry King Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Hollywood Squares.

Tough Turn: “We’ll be in touch today to share personal Hanna Family news,” his children said in a letter. “Doctors have determined that our father, Jack Hanna, has dementia believed to be Alzheimer’s.” Seen with Katie Holmes on Good Morning America in 2017

He often posed with celebrities such as Katie Holmes, Betty White and Drew Barrymore.

The letter his family shared on Facebook also stated, “ A passion for conservation and education is at the heart of who our father is and everything he has accomplished with the help of so many.

He has been connecting people and wildlife throughout his life because he has always believed that showing and experiencing people is key to engaging them in more impactful conservation efforts.

Fast on the move: and his kids added that the dementia is fast moving.  Seen with Betty White in 2014

Fast on the move: and his kids added that the dementia is fast moving.  Seen with Betty White in 2014

Fast on the move: and his kids added that the dementia is fast moving. Seen with Betty White in 2014

“He always said,” You must touch the heart to teach the mind. ” Even though Dad can no longer travel and work the same way, we know that his infectious enthusiasm touched many hearts and will continue to be his legacy. ‘

It was also noted that Suzi, the mother of the children, who has been with Jack for 53 years, “is still his rock (and ours too).”

The note also said, “We have a lot of respect and admiration for Mom while we’re not just going through this difficult time with Dad.”

It was then told that daughter Julie has ‘lifelong challenges due to her childhood leukemia’ and that she is currently recovering from ‘major surgery’.

Pause for a moment: “Sadly, Dad can no longer participate in public life like he used to, where people around the world watched, learned and laughed with him,” his children added; seen with Drew Barrymore in Los Angeles in 2016