With heavy hearts, Florida aquarium announces death of ‘Dolphin Tale’ star Winter

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In Clearwater, Florida a beloved dolphin with a prosthetic tail named Winter died at a Florida aquarium on Thursday evening despite life-saving efforts to treat her gastrointestinal abnormality.

According to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the 16-year-old female bottlenose dolphin died while Winter was being prepped for a procedure.

“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. I’m honored to work alongside such dedicated and talented professionals who gave their all for Winter.”

Dr. Shelly Marquardt, DVM, CVA

In the 2011 movie, the “Dolphin Tale,’ Winter had been swimming free in the ocean as a youngster when she got caught in a trap and severely damaged her tail. She was rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, but her tail could not be saved. When marine biologist played by Harry Connick Jr., met Winter, he insisted upon helping and employed the talent of a prosthetic designer played by Morgan Freeman and befriended a compassionate young boy (Nathan Gamble) who helped Winter to swim once again.

One of the messages of the movie – “Never Give Up” and “Change is Good” left us with positive attitudes applicable to all of our lives.

The CMA team expressed their deepest gratitude to the thousands of people from around the world who sent caring messages for Winter. She truly inspired hope and was loved by millions of people.

Rest in peace Winter.

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