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Beloved 'Dolphin Tale' star Winter dies at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

A prosthetic-tailed dolphin named Winter that starred in the “Dolphin Tale” movies has died at a Florida aquarium despite life-saving efforts by animal care experts.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium said the 16-year-old female bottlenose dolphin died Thursday evening while being treated for a gastrointestinal abnormality.

It says staffers are heartbroken by Winter's death and the aquarium will be closed Friday to give them time to grieve.

“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,” staff veterinarian Dr. Shelly Marquardt said in a post on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's Facebook page.

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

CMA will be closed on Friday to provide time for our staff 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.

Winter was two months old when her tail became entangled in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral, forcing its amputation. “Dolphin Tale” was released in 2011 and chronicled Winter’s recovery and the unprecedented effort to fit her with a prosthetic tail.

A sequel followed three years later.

Plans for a memorial for Winter will be announced soon, according to the aquarium.

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