SeaWorld: Tilikum, orca that killed trainer, has died - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SeaWorld: Tilikum, orca that killed trainer, has died

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -

Tilikum, an orca that killed a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010 and was profiled in a documentary that helped sway popular opinion against keeping killer whales in captivity at SeaWorld parks, has died.

Sea World officials said Friday that Tilikum died but did not give a cause of death. In a statement, the officials said Tilikum had faced serious health issues including a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection. He was estimated to be 36 years old. A necropsy will be performed, according to the statement.

"Tilikum had, and will continue to have, a special place in the hearts of the SeaWorld family, as well as the millions of people all over the world that he inspired," SeaWorld President & CEO Joel Manby said. "My heart goes out to our team who cared for him like family."

Tilikum was SeaWorld's most prolific male orca, siring 14 calves while he was at SeaWorld Orlando. He arrived at the park about 25 years ago.

He was noticeable for his size at more than 22 feet and 11,800 pounds.

Tilikum was born off the waters of Iceland and moved to Sealand of the Pacific in Canada after being captured. While at Sealand in 1992, Tilikum and two female orcas were responsible for the death of a part-time trainer who slipped and fell into their pool and was submerged by them.

Tilikum was moved to SeaWorld Orlando a short time later, and Sealand later closed.

In 1999, a naked man who had eluded security and sneaked into SeaWorld at night was found dead the next morning draped over Tilikum in a breeding tank in the back of Shamu Stadium.

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