Winter, the undersized dolphin who became an adorable international tourist hit thanks to the Dolphin Tale movies, has died at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, the Associated Press reports. She was just 17.
Her death Wednesday at the age of 17 was announced with a video message from the aquarium, where her entire tank has been flooded with photographs of Winter over the years. The video notes that Winter, whose real name was Mabel, “loved fans and had a special way of letting everyone know how much she loved her fans.”
Local news reports at the aquarium note that trainers “planned on her adoption” at the facility when she was old enough.
Winter, an endangered bottlenose dolphin named after an Arizona mountain range, made an appearance in the 2009 film Dolphin Tale, which starred Morgan Freeman and Harry Connick Jr. Her story was also made into a 2011 television movie.
Winter, small and friendly, attracted lots of attention in film and TV for her striking similarity to another dolphin in a similarly seaside setting, June. June was a star of a 2012 Disney TV special, June, called “Planet of the Dolphins,” which I wrote about here.
Read the full story at the Associated Press.