Winter, an 11-year-old Georgia-born bottlenose dolphin, dies at Florida aquarium

The 51-year-old actress Casey Affleck, best known for his Oscar win for the film, is among those who paid tribute to her

Winter, the 11-year-old, Georgia-born bottlenose dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, has died, the marine park said on Friday. She died overnight.

The 51-year-old actress Casey Affleck, best known for his Oscar win for the 2010 film, The Town, tweeted: “Love you very much @winter_marine.”

Casey Affleck (@CaseyAffleck) Love you very much @winter_marine 🐙🐒

The aquarium said it was the “saddest day of the Aquarium’s 40-year history”.

Winter, who was named Aquarama’s dolphin of the year, was found dead on Thursday at 7.35pm. Her cause of death is under investigation, officials said.

SeaWorld paid tribute to the dolphin: “[We are] heartbroken by the news of Winter’s passing,” it said in a statement. “Aquarama management is working closely with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff and veterinarians to explore the full story and to determine if there was anything that could have contributed to Winter’s death.”

Brian Cummings, president and chief executive of the aquarium, said: “On behalf of the staff, I would like to express our condolences to Casey and his family, as well as all our guests and families at the aquarium, on the passing of one of our most beloved dolphins.

“Winter has been a beloved, active part of the aquarium’s aquarama family for over 13 years, and we are heartbroken.”

It came 10 months after another dolphin, Charlie, had a lung transplant and was later rehabilitated after he was struck by a boat off the Florida coast.

Amber Davis, the Aquarama dolphin collection manager, said on Thursday: “The biologists at the aquarium became concerned a few days ago because they did not see her moving and she was feeling really lethargic.

“We know she’s done something like this before, but the sad thing is we don’t know what it is. We just don’t know. We’re all numb.

“The plan is to let the marine mammal response team, which is a really good team of veterinarians, to make a determination about what caused Winter’s death.”

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