Beloved SeaWorld Orca & Blackfish Documentary Subject Tilikum Passes Away At 36 — Read The Sad, Furious Fan Responses
What a sad day for those who adored Tilikum.
On Friday morning, SeaWorld made the unfortunate announcement that the beloved and infamous orca had passed away at age 36 from a "complicated bacterical infection" in his lungs.
Fans first learned the sea creature was ill in spring of 2016.
As we previously reported, Tilikum was at the center of the anti-SeaWorld documentary Blackfish, which exposed the cruelties of capturing and raising killer whales in captivity. The unfortunate orca was the perfect subject as he was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1983 and had lived in marine parks ever since.
The moving doc also honed in on the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at the park who died after Tilikum pulled her under the water and fatally drowned her during a live performance. The tragedy spurred SeaWorld to ban trainers from performing with orcas as well as a national conversation on poaching whales from the wild for entertainment purposes.
In the statement announcing Tilikum's death, SeaWorld also mentioned Dawn, writing: