She was an inspiration to many.  Children and adults worldwide knew her story and were moved by her bravery and determination.  Winter the bottlenose dolphin was the inspiration for and star of the movie "Dolphin Tale," as well as a book series.

Florida's Clearwater Marine Aquarium says that Winter, died on Thursday night, November 12, 2021.  Her passing was caused by a gastrointestinal issue for which she was being treated.

In a written statement the staff says:

"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. The CMA family is devastated.

During preparation for a procedure, the CMA Animal Care team observed that Winter’s behavior and vital signs were declining. The medical team tried several life-saving efforts, but she died being held by her caregivers.

'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.'"

In a heartwarming final note they added, "Winter, we love you."

Winter was loved by millions around the world.

The true story of her struggle and rescue in 2005 off of the Florida coast inspired the 2011 film directed by Charles Martin Smith.  The movie starred Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and Morgan Freeman.  The story inspired many books as well, including several educational books about dolphins for children.


The Clearwater Aquarium is encouraging well-wishers to post messages of support to e-mail them at: Winter@cmaquarium.org.

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