CLEARWATER, Fla. — UPDATE: Winter the Dolphin, whose story inspired millions, died Thursday at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Learn more here.
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Winter the dolphin, made famous by the star-studded Dolphin Tale movie franchise, is ill.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which has cared for the 16-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin since her rescue as a calf, announced the news Sunday evening.
A spokesperson said Winter's caretakers noticed she "wasn't acting like her normal self" last Monday evening and realized she was showing disinterest in food. They immediately began trying to figure out why. The marine rescue facility said tests are still being run on Winter, but initial bloodwork suggests she may be fighting a gastrointestinal infection.
"Our dedicated staff will continue to keep a close watch on her through this healing process and provide her with the highest quality of care," CMA wrote in a statement.
Winter has lived most of her life without tail flukes after becoming entangled in a crab trap on Florida's east coast in 2005.
"During Winter’s time living at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, she’s thrived, and her story of survival has inspired millions of people around the world," CMA added. "She continues to show a strong, determined, and fighting spirit, and her resiliency continues to inspire us all."
CMA said caretakers were monitoring Winter around-the-clock and hoping for a quick recovery.
10 Tampa Bay recently partnered with CMA for the release of its new documentary film, "Stranded: A Whale Rescue Tale," which highlighted the rescue efforts the facility does for all sorts of creatures beyond just dolphins.
The aquarium says people can email email@example.com to send in notes of encouragement, which will be read and responded to at their earliest convenience.