Knut, the star polar bear who became a symbol of the Berlin Zoo, drowned during an epileptic seizure, the Focus Online German news portal quoted a senior neurologist as saying on Saturday.
Knut, the first bear born in the Berlin Zoo in 30 years, died unexpectedly on March 19 after collapsing into the water in his compound.
Neurologist Christian Elger of the University of Bonn told Focus Online that Knut's convulsionary movements, which preceded his collapse, were symptoms of an epileptic seizure.
"Those suffering from epilepsy are 23 times more likely to die from drowning," Elger said.
The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin is currently examining Knut's brain. According to veterinarians, Knut could have inherited epilepsy from his father Lars who also suffered from epileptic seizures.
Knut was born in December 2006 and his mother rejected the cub shortly after his birth. Knut immediately captured the international community's heart and became a world celebrity - a popular brand, a symbol of the fight against global warming and a "poster-cub" for the polar bear campaign.
MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti)