Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 'Dolphin Tale' star Winter the Dolphin dies at 16

Posted By on Fri, Nov 12, 2021 at 10:46 AM

  • Photo via Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced that Winter the Dolphin died last night. The famous dolphin with a prosthetic tail, whose rescue was fictionalized in the movie A Dolphin Tale, passed away ahead of a surgery to treat ongoing gastrointestinal problems. The 16-year-old dolphin had been in the care of the aquarium for almost its entire life.

"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," the aquarium shared. "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."

The dolphin was first reported to be ill earlier this week, and its condition rapidly worsened. The aquarium planned a closure to focus care on the sick animal. They will still be closed on Friday to allow staff 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,” Veterinarian Dr. Shelly Marquardt said in a statement from the aquarium. “I’m honored to work alongside such dedicated and talented professionals who gave their all for Winter.”

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 12, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation