In Memory of Robin Williams and His Love of Gorillas

It’s not only people that are mourning the tragic loss of Robin Williams this week. In 2001, Williams visited Koko, at The Gorilla Foundation. Prior to Williams’ visit, Koko hadn’t smiled in six months, since her lifelong gorilla companion, Michael, had passed. Williams not only inspired her to smile and laugh, but Koko was equally talented at getting Williams to laugh. Watch the above video to see how they quickly formed an emotional bond.

As reported in The Dodo, after their meeting and deep connection, Williams said,

“Meeting Koko was unforgettable. Koko used sign language to ask me to play with her. We shared interspecies laughter. I realized how important the work of the Gorilla Foundation is for the future of Koko and her species.”

In March of 2004, Williams again shared the spotlight with Koko in starting a new ad campaign, to help raise awareness of the serious threats to the survival of gorillas. BusinessWire reported Williams to say,

“Thousands of gorillas like Koko are killed every year by poachers in the illegal bushmeat trade. At this rate, free-living gorillas could be wiped off the earth in a few years.”

The Gorilla Foundation asks that “when you remember Robin Williams, remember that he is not only one of the world’s most beloved entertainers, he is also one of the world’s most powerful ambassadors for great ape conservation.”

Help protect the gorillas of Virunga Park, DRC by signing this Care2 petition.

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146 comments

Ruth R.
Ruth R.1 years ago

Already signed the petition to help the park.

Maria L.
Maria L.1 years ago

Signed. Thank you. Robin and Koko touched my heart.

Krista Tackett
Krista Tackett1 years ago

It is not a surprise that Robin Williams, with his warm, kind heart and gentle ways could befriend a gorilla, named Koko. It is really amazing to see the genuine bond between the two. And what Robin did to contribute to the safety and welfare of gorillas. I saw a post the day Robin died , of when Koko was told her dear friend had passed. She had such a look of utter disbelief and sadness in her face and eyes. And sat their holding his picture . You could see the grief she was experiencing . It added to my own grief, sorrow, and pain for I man I so admired, and who could make me laugh till I hurt !
Robin, you will be missed so much , by your family and millions of others. And a gorilla named, Koko .Lo. I feel like I have lost a good friend. I hope you are now at peace.
Love and Blessings to you , Robin.

Val M.
Val M.1 years ago

I still love this video :-)

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe1 years ago

Robin was a big kid, and Koko must be one also, since they were having so much fun!!

I hope Robin finds the peace in heaven that he was looking for here on earth! Rest in Peace, dear Robin! You are missed.

Val M.
Val M.1 years ago

This has become my favourite memory of Robin Williams, so I am coming back yet again to watch it.

Julia R.
Julia R.1 years ago

Absolutely awesome! What a bond Robyn Williams and Koko had during this video. What a wonderful tribute to Williams as a man who appreciated these amazing primates and some of our closest relatives and helped to promote the important cause to save them!

Suzanne L.
Suzanne L.1 years ago

Petition signed. That is one beautiful video. I think Robin was experiencing genuine enjoyment and so was Koko. The one word I have heard over and over about Robin is that he was a deeply kind man. I don't know what was on his mind before he chose to pass on but I wish some thought or memory had provided him with enough solace to stay with us a little longer.

Eileen Mary P.
Eileen P.1 years ago

fabulous to watch. A prayer too, for those suffering from depression, a sense of hopelessness, and fear nothing will get better. Give them the strength to find a way forward.

Cheryl Mallon-Bond

That was AWESOME!!!!!!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! It gave me smile, chills, & tears!!! You could very clearly see on Robin's face (when Koko put his hands on her heart) that he dropped into that "deep place", & touched him profoundly. It was SO COOL!, when she wanted to tickle play & the actual smile!!! of delight! on her face was just so wonderful to see & experience! I am so so sad about Robin's death. Besides being a beloved multi-talented entertainer, many who know &,loved him keep saying what a remarkably kind & loving person he was...& ultimately, that is the most important thing about him...cause at the end of it all...love is tue only thing that really matters!, Robin, you are loved by so many!!! & always will be! R.I.P dear Robin.