Charlie the smoking chimpanzee at the Mangaung Zoo has died, says a municipal official.
See video of Chalie in action Smoking Chimp
Mangaung municipal spokesman Qondile Khedama said Charlie had become an institution at the Bloemfontein Zoo entertaining thousands of visitors annually with his antics.
"He was known for his bad habit of smoking, which also earned him world-wide fame."
Khedama said Charlie was very old for a chimp and even though he had been receiving special care and a special diet including protein shakes and vitamin and mineral supplements, he succumbed to old age on Tuesday.
He said chimpanzees lived on average 36 to 40 years. Charlie was 52 years old.
A post mortem to determine the exact cause of death would be done as part of normal procedure.
Khedama said the zoo would source another chimpanzee in the place of Charlie, as companion for the zoo's female chimp Judy.
"We realise it would be almost impossible to replace a character like Charlie," he said in a statement.