Booie, the smoking chimpanzee, dies at 44

This undated file photo provided by the Wildlife Waystation shows Booie the chimpanzee, who died Saturday, Dec. 11, 2011, at age 44, while being  treated for a heart condition. Booie kicked a smoking habit at the animal sanctuary near Los Angeles, where he had lived since 1995, after retiring from a research lab.
Dave Welling | AP
This undated file photo provided by the Wildlife Waystation shows Booie the chimpanzee, who died Saturday, Dec. 11, 2011, at age 44, while being treated for a heart condition. Booie kicked a smoking habit at the animal sanctuary near Los Angeles, where he had lived since 1995, after retiring from a research lab.
Posted Dec. 15, 2011, at 7:55 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — A chimpanzee that kicked a smoking habit and used sign language to beg for candy has died at a California animal refuge.

Martine Colette of the Wildlife WayStation says Booie was being treated for a heart condition when he died Saturday at 44. The chimp had been living at the animal sanctuary near Los Angeles since 1995, after he retired from a research lab.

Colette says she turned Booie into a non-smoker but couldn’t fix his sweet tooth. She says he would use his skill to panhandle by signing: “Booie see sweet in pocket.”

Booie’s death is a serious blow to the financially troubled refuge because he was one of its best fundraisers. Martine says he had fans around the world because of his TV appearances.

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