Head Of Columbus Zoo Dies Suddenly

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Dublin, Ohio (AP) -- The head of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has died.

Zoo officials say executive director Jeff Swanagan apparently had a heart attack sunday night at his home.

He was 51.

Swanagan became zoo director last year and had also worked at the zoo from 1980 to 1987 as a keeper and educator.

He became CEO of the Florida Aquarium in 1998 and left that position in 2002 to head up the planning and opening of the Georgia Aquarium.

Anthony Godfrey, president and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium, called Swanagan "a dedicated educator whose passion for making a difference for wild things in wild places was evident through all of his work and leadership."

Swanagan was an Ohio native and graduate of Ohio State University.

The Zoo's board planned to discuss its plans Monday.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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