Tilikum, the orca at the center of the documentary "Blackfish," has died.
According to SeaWorld, Tilikum passed away early this morning surrounded by the trainers, care staff and veterinarians.
While the official cause of death will not be determined until the necropsy is completed, the SeaWorld veterinarians were treating a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection.
Tilikum has been at SeaWorld for more than 25 years.
Tilikum’s life will always be inextricably connected with death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.
Even after her death, SeaWorld continued to offer Tilikum the care.
“Tilikum had, and will continue to have, a special place in the hearts of the SeaWorld family, as well as the millions of people all over the world that he inspired,” said President & CEO of SeaWorld Joel Manby. “My heart goes out to our team who cared for him like family.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, better known as PETA, has long condemned the capturing of wildlife for show and SeaWorld. The organization sent out about a dozen tweets condemning the whale's health problems.
Some of those tweets centered around points brought up by "Blackfish," including the fact Tilikum killed several people while in captivity.
Technically, Tilikum wasn't captured by SeaWorld or born in captivity. And the organization says he's about 36 years old, which is "near the high end of the average life expectancy for male killer whales."