March 26, 2011 / 6:26 PM / in 8 years

Epilepsy killed celebrity polar bear Knut: report

A photograph showing polar bear Knut is set up next to a book of condolence at the Berlin zoo, March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Knut, the celebrity orphan polar bear who drew thousands of visitors to Berlin zoo, died after an epileptic fit, according to neurologists quoted by Focus magazine.

A CAT scan had revealed abormalities in the brain of the bear, who may have inherited epilepsy from his father Lars, also a sufferer.

Four year-old Knut, who won global fame as he grew from a cute cub but grew into a 200 kg predator, died in front of horrified visitors at the zoo last weekend.

Neurologists said the fit was triggered by a brain disorder yet to be identified. The magazine said Knut’s brain is now being studied at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wild Animal Research (IZW).

Knut shot to fame when he was rejected by his mother and was hand-reared instead by his keeper Thomas Doerflein.

Visitors came to watch keeper and cub playing together. The German post office produced a stamp in Knut’s honor and the bear appeared on the cover of numerous publications, including the German edition of Vanity Fair.

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