NEWS

Tilikum, SeaWorld Whale That Killed Trainer, Has Died

by Jackie Willis 8:31 AM PST, January 06, 2017
Playing Tilikum, SeaWorld Whale That Killed Trainer, Has Died

Tilikum, a male orca whale, has died after 25 years at SeaWorld Orlando.

"The SeaWorld family is deeply saddened to announce that one of its most well-known orcas, Tilikum, has passed away," the theme park says in a statement on their website. "Tilikum passed away early this morning, January 6, surrounded by the trainers, care staff and veterinarians that provided him around-the-clock world-class care."

NEWS: SeaWorld Announces an End to Orca Captivity -- But There's a Catch

The cause of death has yet to be determined, though SeaWorld's website says Tilikum, who was estimated to be 36 years old, "had faced some very serious health issues" due to his older age.

Tilikum was profiled in the documentary Blackfish, which addressed the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its possible dangers for both humans and mammals.

MORE: SeaWorld Expanded Killer Whale Environments After Blackfish, But Is It Enough?

In 2010, Tilikum killed trainer Dawn Brancheau when he pulled her into the pool following a "Dine with Shamu" show. "Tilikum’s life will always be inextricably connected with the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Dawn Brancheau," SeaWorld's statement reads. "While we all experienced profound sadness about that loss, we continued to offer Tilikum the best care possible, each and every day, from the country’s leading experts in marine mammals."

Brancheau was 40 years old at the time of her death.

According to CBS News, the whale was also involved in the deaths of two other people in the 1990s.

SHARE ON FACEBOOK SHARE SHARE ON TWITTER TWEET