Winter, the dolphin actor in Warner Bros. hit movie Dolphin Tale, has died at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. The 27-year-old dolphin, who passed away Sunday afternoon, was featured in several films, including the 2009 Sandra Bullock blockbuster that earned $267 million worldwide. The movie was based on the true story of Winter’s miraculous recovery after being trapped for three days in a flooded habitat with a two-month-old dolphin. The rescue effort was played out on camera, to the delight of viewers worldwide. “This is a very sad day and we are very grateful to the community of Clearwater for helping us save Winter’s life in 2007,” said Jon Kerr, Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s aquarium CEO, on the aquarium’s Facebook page. “We are also thankful for her popularity and widespread fame that she has had since then. We love her and will miss her very much.”
#BREAKING: Winter, the dolphin star in ‘Dolphin Tale,’ has died. Our thoughts are with her trainers & their families. https://t.co/jUZmMulGEq pic.twitter.com/nMMEj88DKw — People Magazine (@people) March 11, 2020
“The theme song of ‘Dolphin Tale’ was just created just to inspire the ocean,” said Zooey Deschanel, who played a doctor who performed a surgery on Winter, during a 2013 interview with ABC. “And since ‘Dolphin Tale’ came out, she’s lived through everything you could possibly envision a dolphin having. This life was just built for her, and there’s no way to put a price on this kind of experience.”
RELATED: VIDEO: Whale helps rescue human rescuer in Florida
Please join us in mourning the loss of our longtime favorite Dolphin, Winter. Winter passed away Sunday, March 11, at age 27. pic.twitter.com/tY1ahIXvjd — Clearwater Marine Aquarium (@CMAAtym) March 11, 2016
Winter arrived at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium from Miami Seaquarium in 2006, while undergoing rehabilitation following her rescue. In December 2017, the dolphin and her trainer, Nelson, were featured as ABC’s guests on “Good Morning America.” In a segment that aired on the morning news show, Nelson told Entertainment Tonight that Winter had experienced her best days in the water, adding that her strength was more surprising than her age. “I was quite shocked by how well-balanced and physically fit she was,” he said. “Now, she was 27, so she had a lot of really good years left. You don’t usually wake up at 27 and have a really good life!”
Winter will be presented with an ice sculpture with flowers in the form of a fin. Additional tributes will be made outside the aquarium’s windows on Tuesday.