CLEARWATER, Fla. — Plans are underway to mourn the passing of Winter the Dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
President Dr. James “Buddy” Powell said Friday that a memorial will be held for Winter on Saturday, Nov. 20. Additional details will be provided at a later date.
The aquarium announced Thursday night the heartbreaking news that Winter died after days of fighting a gastrointestinal infection.
Caretakers of the 16-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, made famous by the "Dolphin Tale" movie franchise, say they first noticed she wasn't acting like herself and had lost her appetite on Nov. 1. They immediately began working to determine what was wrong.
But, despite treatments, her condition deteriorated.
She passed away around 8 p.m. She was surrounded by animal care experts from across the United States working to treat her gastrointestinal issues. CMA said it explored all possible options to save her life.
The team is now working to do a thorough necropsy to determine her cause of death and learn more about how this "medical marvel" thrived at CMA for so many years, Powell added.
Winter gave hope to people with prosthetics. She wore her prosthetic tail during physical therapy sessions with her care team.
"The world is so sad to have lost an animal ambassador that has inspired us all and her legacy will continue to live on through the work that we do," he said. "The hospital behind us will continue to save the lives of animals and continue to inspire others.
"I am very very grateful for what Winter brought to us," Powell continued. "We are absolutely committed to her legacy."