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Bye bye Basi: World's oldest captive panda dies

The world's oldest captive giant panda has died at the age of 37 - more than 100 years in human years.

A zoo in China said on Thursday that the female bear, named Basi, died of 'illnesses' yesterday morning as they gave her an emotional send-off befitting a minor celebrity.

The well-love animal was found as a starving cub in a frozen river in 1984. She quickly became a national star after being trained to perform various sports stunts, such as weight lifting and biking riding.

Panda Basi has died aged 37 at a zoo in China. The female bear was something of a beloved star in China and her birthdays were often celebrated with gusto. She was named the world's oldest panda at her birthday earlier this year (pictured)

Panda Basi has died aged 37 at a zoo in China. The female bear was something of a beloved star in China and her birthdays were often celebrated with gusto. She was named the world's oldest panda at her birthday earlier this year (pictured)

Basi was trained to perform various sports stunts, including lifting weights and shooting hoops, in 1980s

Basi broke into super-stardom with her sporting talent

Sports star: Basi was trained to perform various sports stunts, including lifting weights and shooting hoops, in 1980s

Basi died at the Strait Panda Research and Exchange Centre in Fuzhou, south-east China's Fujian Province, after having fallen ill since June.

She was said to have died of multiple illnesses, including liver cirrhosis and renal failure, reported Xinhua News Agency.

State television reported live on Thursday from the centre, which held a memorial in her honour.

'With a heavy heart, we solemnly announce today that the original model of 'Panpan', the mascot for the first Asian Games (in China, 1990), and an angel of friendship both at home and abroad, giant panda star Basi died at 8:50am on September 13, 2017 at the age of 37,' the Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Center in Fuzhou said on social media.

Basi's body is set to be kept in a museum being built in her honour, according to Chen Yucun, the director of the centre. Pictured, a breeder strokes Basi in 2015 as the bear celebrates her 35th birthday at the centre in Fuzhou

Basi's body is set to be kept in a museum being built in her honour, according to Chen Yucun, the director of the centre. Pictured, a breeder strokes Basi in 2015 as the bear celebrates her 35th birthday at the centre in Fuzhou

According to Chen Yucun, director of the centre and the carer of Basi for 33 years, a museum is being built to commemorate the panda and will be named after her. 

'Basi's body will be put in Basi Museum, which is being constructed for people to forever remember her and share the spirit of the harmonious development between humans and nature,' Mr Chen said to Xinhua.

Mr Chen talked about the bear as if she had been his own daughter.  

In a eulogy released today, he said Basi was 'diligent', 'selfless' and 'strong'.

'We call them the "Basi Spirit" and we should promote and learn from the spirit,' Mr Chen wrote. 

The centre is due to hold a public memorial service for Basi at 10am on September 16, and a documentary of the panda would be played at the centre for the rest of the month.  

Basi outlived most of her peers by nearly two decades - Pandas in the wild have an average lifespan of about 20 years, but those in captivity generally live longer.

In a eulogy released today, Mr Chen, who had looked after Basi for 33 years, said the bear was 'diligent', 'selfless' and 'strong'

In a eulogy released today, Mr Chen, who had looked after Basi for 33 years, said the bear was 'diligent', 'selfless' and 'strong'

In January, she was

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