11/12/2014 12:59 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST

Jovian, the lemur from PBS's Zoboomafoo, dead at 20

Jovian, the lemur from PBS's popular children's show Zoboomafu, is dead.

The animal died Monday of kidney failure at the age of 20, according to an obituary posted online by the Duke Lemur Center, where Jovian lived.

"A quiet sadness spread over the Duke Lemur Center staff on Monday as news spread that Jovian, a much-loved Coquerel’s sifaka had died.

"[He was] an exceptionally capable and caring father, having sired 12 sifakas by two different partners, leading to four grandbabies, with two more on the way."

- On mobile? Watch a clip of Zoboomafoo here

Known by the name Zoboomafoo on the show, the white-furred, yellow-eyed creature leaped​ and bounded his way into the hearts of millions of children. Human co-stars Martin and Chris Kratt, who also created the program, instructed children on the habits of lemurs and other animals.

"He was great to work with," said Martin Kratt in a statement. "He'd jump in through the window and we'd feed him mangoes or garbanzo beans. Sometimes he'd grab our noses with those soft sifaka hands."

The Kratts produced 65 episodes of Zoboomafoo in the show's two-year run between 1999 and 2001, and the show  lives on in worldwide syndication. 

News of Jovian's death triggered an outpouring of emotion online.

- On mobile? Read fans' tweets here, here and here.

Despite their grief, the Duke Lemur Center is hopeful that Jovian impregnated his mate, Pia, before he died.

If he did, the centre expects a little Jovian could be born in late winter, 2015.