Much-loved red panda Tilly has passed away at Hertfordshire Zoo.  

The Comet: Red panda Tilly at Hertfordshire ZooRed panda Tilly at Hertfordshire Zoo (Image: Hertfordshire Zoo)

The Herts zoo, formerly Paradise Wildlife Park, officially announced the news this morning.

The famous red panda sadly died on Tuesday afternoon after battling age related health issues which impacted on her quality of life.

A statement from the zoo said: "It comes with great sadness that Hertfordshire Zoo must announce the passing of their much-loved red panda, Tilly."

The Comet: Red panda Tilly with cub TashiRed panda Tilly with cub Tashi (Image: Hertfordshire Zoo)

Tilly has been part of the zoo family at the site in White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, since arriving from Beauval Zoo in 2012 and was a favourite with all the Herts team including the visitors.

She was a very adventurous climber and was often seen by keepers and visitors climbing to the very top of the hornbeam tree in the red panda habitat to find her favourite spot to nap.

The Comet: Red panda Tilly at Hertfordshire Zoo has died.Red panda Tilly at Hertfordshire Zoo has died. (Image: Hertfordshire Zoo)

In the zoo's 'Meet the Red Panda' experiences, visitors would notice that Tilly’s favourite food was always bamboo — which she could eat all day — but as a treat she would always come down from the tops of the tree for the occasional fresh tasty grape which she loved.

"The team at Hertfordshire Zoo are incredibly saddened by this passing," added a zoo spokesperson.

"Tilly was immensely loved by her keeping team as well as the wider team across the zoo. Tilly will be greatly missed by everyone who cared for her and by all who were lucky enough to meet her over the years.

"Everyone who got to meet Tilly fell in love with her and her unique characteristics.

"Tilly will remain in the hearts of all the team and visitors at Hertfordshire Zoo."

A social media sensation, Tilly was an ambassador for red pandas across the world as they are classed as 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List.