BALTIMORE, Md. (WHTM) — The Maryland Zoo is mourning the unexpected loss of its beloved giraffe, Willow.

According to the zoo, Willow began to show a sharp decrease in appetite this past Friday. Gastrointestinal issues are not uncommon in giraffes and the zoo started around-the-clock monitoring of her health.

The zoo then stated that Willow appeared to be stable before deteriorating on Monday. A complete examination is being done to determine the cause of her sudden death.

The Zoo issued the following statement regarding the death of Willow:

“This is a tremendous loss and we know our members, guests, and friends feel it too. Since her birth, Willow has inspired joy and compassion in thousands of people. She grew from an awkward calf with ossicones that looked like pigtails to a beautiful icon of the Zoo and her vulnerable species. Willow’s presence at the Giraffe Feeding Station, in particular, is something everyone will miss. We could go on about Willow’s goofy personality and many life milestones and know those topics will be in conversations today in our barns and your homes. We know you understand how special Willow was and the significance of her loss. Thank you in advance for joining us in mourning.

Six-year-old Willow was born at the Maryland Zoo to a female, Juma, and a male Caesar who still resides at the zoo. She was incredibly popular and named during a public contest that drew more than 26,000 responses.

Giraffes are listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s leading conservation organization, with the caveat, that “populations of giraffes are scattered and fragmented, with different growth trajectories and threats.”