Winter, Star of 'Dolphin Tale', Dies at 16 After Battling Gastrointestinal Infection

Winter the dolphin, the subject of the 2011 movie and its sequel, has sadly passed away as a team of veterinarians was preparing for a procedure to treat her issues.

AceShowbiz - Winter, the beloved dolphin from "Dolphin Tale", has passed away. The mammal died on Thursday night, November 11 at around 8 P.M. following her battle with intestinal issues, which had been treated since early this month.

"With heavy hearts, Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced tonight that Winter the Dolphin died at approximately 8 p.m. as animal care experts from around the country worked to treat her gastrointestinal abnormality," Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where the dolphin was housed for nearly 16 years, said in a statement. "The CMA family is devastated."

The aquarium tells TMZ a team of 15 veterinarians and technicians was preparing a procedure to treat the gastrointestinal blockage, but Winter's behavior and vital signs were declining. A necropsy will reportedly be performed to determine cause of death.

"The medical team tried several life-saving efforts, but she died being held by her caregivers," the aquarium added in the statement. Winter was 16 years old.

"While we are heartbroken by Winter's death, we are comforted knowing that our team did everything possible to give her the best chance at survival. We worked with specialists and marine mammal experts from around the country to provide her with the best care available. Our staff worked around the clock during this challenging time," said Veterinarian Dr. Shelly Marquardt, DVM, CVA. "I'm honored to work alongside such dedicated and talented professionals who gave their all for Winter."

CMA will close its doors on Friday, November 12 to allow staff members to grieve. A grief counselor will be made available to the team. Plans for a memorial for Winter, honoring the positive impact she made on the world, will be announced soon.

Team members at CMA noticed on Monday, November 1 that Winter "wasn't acting like her normal self" and was not interested in eating. Test results on Wednesday, November 10 showed that, despite "aggressive" treatment from aquarium staff, abnormalities in her intestines intensified, making Winter's condition critical.

Winter made national headlines in 2005 when she was rescued off the Florida coast and taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The bottlenose dolphin had become entangled in a crab trap line which cut off the supply of blood to her tail, causing it to have to be amputated. She later received a prosthetic replacement.

Her story inspired the 2011 film "Dolphin Tale", starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson and Morgan Freeman, and its sequel "Dolphin Tale 2" (2014).

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