Lonesome George, the last remaining Pinta tortoise and a conservation icon, has died of unknown causes, the Galapagos National Park said.
Lonesome George was found in 1972 and had become a symbol of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, which attracted some 180,000 visitors last year.
George was believed to be around 100 years old and the last member of a species of giant tortoise from La Pinta, one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park said.
The giant Galapagos tortoises, which can live up to 200 years old, were among the species that helped Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century.
The Galapagos National Park will cary out a post mortem to determine the cause of death and is considering embalming George's body so that it can be displayed in the park, officials said.
– Edwin Naula, Director of Galapagos National Park
We plan to embalm the body so we can show him to the people who did not get to meet him.
That way we will be able to keep the message alive, that we must be more responsible keeping the environment in which we live, our planet.
Scientists had been trying unsuccessfully to get George to mate since 1993.
In 2009, science editor Lawrence McGinty joined Prince Charles on a trip to the Galapagos islands which included a meeting with Lonesome George.
Here's a clip from the ITV News special programme The Prince in the Rainforest: