Basi the world's oldest giant panda in captivity dies at 37

Basi ( photo)

The world's oldest captive giant panda Basi has died, her keepers in Fuzhou, southeast China announced Thursday.

"With a heavy heart, we solemnly announce today that giant panda star Basi died at 8:50am at the age of 37," an official from the Straits Giant Panda Research and Exchange Centre in Fuzhou said.

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Basi first became sick in July and developed irreversible liver damage, according to the research center.

She lived to the equivalent of more than 100 years old in human years, surpassing all other pandas she lived with in captivity.

A public memorial in her honor was broadcast live from the research center.

Last year, giant pandas were downgraded from an "endangered" to "vulnerable" species after the panda population rose 17 percent since 2014, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

The expected life span of pandas in captivity is usually up to 30 years.

ABC News reached out to the San Diego Zoo, where Basi spent six months in 1987 and drew millions of visitors.

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