The announcement was made Wednesday by the city's mayor, Honey Lacuna, during a news conference -- a day after the zoo's chief veterinarian, Dr Heinrich Patrick Peña-Domingo, confirmed the captive elephant had cancer in some of her organs and a blockage in her aorta.
The diagnosis came after Mali was seen Friday repeatedly rubbing her trunk against a wall -- an indicator she was in pain -- and then laying on her side and breathing heavily Tuesday, passing away later in the day.
Since then, Mali had been the zoo's only elephant and lived in solitary until her death.
Animal rights activists have long criticized the conditions of Manila Zoo ... blasting the keepers for being ill-equipped to provide the animals with proper care.
In 2013, Paul McCartney wrote to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III begging for Mali to be moved to an animal sanctuary to "bring an end to her suffering," ... while animal welfare group PETA added at the time that Mali "endures intense confinement, loneliness, boredom and isolation" at the zoo.
The efforts never amounted to anything ... with PETA expressing their devastation over the tragic news, writing on X: "One of the world's saddest elephants has passed away. We're so sorry, Mali. You deserved better."