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PORTLAND -- The Oregon Zoo veterinarian who delivered Packy the Elephant has died.

Dr. Matthew Maberry was the zoo's first vet. He died Thursday night at the age of 94.

We are deeply saddened, said Mike Keele of the Oregon Zoo. Dr. Maberry dedicated his life to the health and well-being of animals. Packy s birth is only the most famous example of his commitment animal welfare.

Maberry started working at the zoo in 1958.

He was part of a team working to design new facilities that would provide elephants with much more freedom than was common in zoos at the time, said the zoo's Hova Najarian.

Click for archival footage from the Oregon Zoo

Packy s birth, on April 14, 1962, garnered worldwide attention. Only nine other elephants had been born in North America before Packy. The zoo welcomed more than a million visitors that year.

Maberry and his wife, Patricia, later wrote about the event in a book called Packy and Me, which was released in 2011.

Related: Packy the Elephant star of book

By 1971, 10 Asian elephants had been born at the zoo, while no other elephants were born elsewhere in the U.S.

Maberry continued to be of service to the zoo right up until his death, Keele said. He last visited the zoo January 19, for the grand opening of a new veterinary medical center.

I m so glad he got to tour the new vet center, Keele said. We were hoping he would be here to help celebrate Packy s 50th birthday in April. We will certainly be thinking of him then.

Maberry received the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association s Award of Excellence in 2008.

Zoo staff members were planning a memorial event and expected to release details early next week.

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