PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A beloved bear at the Philadelphia Zoo has died.

Zoo officials said Ben, a 23-year-old Asiatic black bear, was euthanized Wednesday after being treated for a form of cancer in one of his front paws.

He underwent surgery earlier this year to remove a tumor from the paw but an October biopsy found it had returned and borrowed deeper into Ben's foot. Veterinary staffers then made the decision to euthanize him.

Ben was born at a zoological park in Virginia and arrived in Philadelphia in 2002.

The zoo's chief operating officer says Ben will be missed.