Oct 6th 2010 By Drew Kearse
Forget Joe Camel. By far the coolest animal ever to walk the earth was Charlie, the smoking chimpanzee.
And yesterday, after a long life of chillin', Charlie passed away
at the ripe old age of 52 -- 10 years longer than the life expectancy for a chimp.
Charlie lived in a South African zoo. When tourists began throwing cigarettes into his enclosure, Charlie started smoking them -- so much so that his smoking became an attraction at the zoo.
Concerned over the negative press of having a smoking monkey
, zoo staff tried to wean Charlie off his nicotine habit. But Charlie gave them a "You don't own me!" and started bumming cigarettes from tourists by miming the motion with two adorable chimp fingers.
And who can blame him? You'd be stressed too if you were kidnapped from your family, forced into a cage and spent your days being gawked at by strangers. But Charlie didn't complain, he just took a trip to flavor country and left his problems behind.
So, in honor of Charlie, who's up there with Monkey Jesus
, smoke 'em if you got' em. Keep reading for some classic footage of Charlie in action.