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Banana Sam, famous monkey, dies at San Francisco Zoo

SAN FRANCISCO – Banana Sam, a monkey who gained fame when he was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo two years ago, has died at the age of 19.

Zoo officials say the 2-pound squirrel monkey passed away Thursday of heart disease. A squirrel monkey’s life span is 20 years.

On the night of Dec. 29, 2011, someone apparently cut into the animal’s cage and kidnapped Banana Sam, generating worldwide news attention. A $5,000 reward was offered for the monkey’s return.

Two days later, Banana Sam was found in the Stern Grove neighborhood of San Francisco, about a mile away from the zoo.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the monkey has since lived in a faux-tropical landscape where he faded from the media spotlight.

Banana Sam’s kidnapper was never discovered.

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