Image copyright CBS
Winter, the white dolphin who starred in the movie Dolphin Tale, has died at a Florida aquarium.
The world’s only bottlenose dolphin that has been kept in captivity since birth has died of a bacterial infection.
Winter was 36 and born in 1972 at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. She spent most of her life at SeaWorld before relocating to Dolphin Discovery in Sarasota.
The independent aquarium said on its website: “We are in a state of shock.”
Its director told National Geographic that the dolphin caught a bacterial infection called vibrio vulnificus, which is typically found in coral reefs.
In live footage broadcast on its website, Winter swam with staffers and volunteers before she collapsed and was eventually euthanised.
“We have lost our close friend,” the Sarasota marine centre said in a statement.
“This was never about the animal or what she did. She was just an amazing animal, an amazing ambassador for the ocean. She helped make Dolphin Discovery a place where everyone felt welcome.”
Winter became famous following the documentary The Cove, which showed her being hauled into a plastic-lined cage after a dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan.
She was also the star of The Winter, which was released in cinemas in 2011, and her picture was used in the 2014 film Dolphin Tale 2.
According to News North Florida, Winter was euthanised on Friday after being diagnosed with the same type of infection that claimed the life of a female killer whale named Taku at SeaWorld in March.