NEW ORLEANS – The Audubon Nature Institute announced Sunday its white tiger has died.

Authorities said the male white tiger had a steep decline in health recently, and had been receiving hospice-style treatment to help maintain his quality of life.

“King Zulu was a personable cat and really loved interacting with staff and guests alike - his caretakers were all very close to him,” said Joe Forys, Audubon Zoo’s Curator of Large Mammals in a release from the zoo. “He greeted everyone with a chuff (tiger purr) every time he saw you and we will never forget him.”

King Zulu was born at the Nashville Zoo in 1996, and had been with the Audubon Institute since 1999.

Bengal tigers live in the wild for about 10-15 years, while tigers in human care usually live between 16-20 years, Audubon said.