SeaWorld: Tilikum, Orca That Killed Trainer, Has Died

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ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 30: Killer whale "Tilikum" appears during its performance in its show "Believe" at Sea World on March 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. "Tilikum" is back to public performance March 30, the first time since the six-ton whale has performed since killing trainer 40-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau at the marine park on February 24 2010, after Sea World Parks & Entertainment president Jim Atchinson signed off on the decision this week. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tilikum, an orca that killed a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010, has died.

Sea World says in a statement posted online that Tilikum died Friday. A cause of death had not yet been determined, though the orca was being treated for a persistent bacterial infection. He was estimated to be 36 years old.

Tilikum was profiled in the documentary “Blackfish,” which helped sway popular opinion against keeping killer whales in captivity at SeaWorld parks.

As SeaWorld’s most prolific male orca, he sired 14 calves in the nearly 25 years he was at SeaWorld Orlando.

Criticism over keeping orcas captive grew after Tilikum grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau following a “Dine with Shamu” show and pulled her into the pool, killing her.

Tilikum was also involved in the deaths of two other people in the 1990s.