Winter, Beloved Star of' Dolphin Tale' Movies, Dies at Aquarium in Florida

The famous bottle-nosed dolphin was known for its prosthetic tail.

Sad news out of Clearwater, Florida.

Winter, Clearwater Marine Aquarium's (CMA) famous prosthetic-tailed dolphin and star of the Dolphin Tale movies, died Thursday evening.

Despite life-saving efforts to treat a gastrointestinal abnormality, Winter died while being held by her caregivers as they were preparing her for a procedure, aquarium officials said. Tampa Bay Times reports that aquarium staff first became concerned for Winter's health back on November 1st when she started to have trouble eating.

Dolphin Tale Movie Poster
Clearwater Marine Aquarium

"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," Dr. Shelly Marquardt, DVM, CVA, said in a news release. "I'm honored to work alongside such dedicated and talented professionals who gave their all for Winter."

Winter Dolphin
Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Necropsy results indicate that Winter's death was caused by an intestinal torsion, meaning that her intestines had twisted deep in her intestine.

"While our team provided Winter the best care and treatment available, the location of the torsion made it impossible to reach through surgery," CMA announced on Friday. "There was nothing more the team could have done to save her life."

Winter was two months old when her tail became tangled in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral, leading to its amputation. Dolphin Tale, which was released in 2011 and starred Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Morgan Freeman, and Nathan Gamble, chronicled her recovery and CMA's extraordinary effort to fit her with a prosthetic tail.

In remembrance of Winter's 16 years of life, admission to CMA will be reduced to $16.00 on Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 21. There will be flower arrangements and visual tributes to Winter as well as a special presentation schedule focused on Winter's life and legacy.

Fans are encouraged to share their memories of Winter at

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