Published Jan 06, 2017In 2013, Gabriela Cowperthwaite caused a massive PR crisis for SeaWorld with the release of Blackfish. The film followed the tragic story of Tilikum, an orca whale that killed a SeaWorld trainer while in captivity in 2010. Now, Tilikum has passed away.
As TMZ reports, Tilikum died at the age of 36. While it's unclear what killed him, he had been recently treated for a bacterial infection.
In addition to killing a trainer in 2010, Tilikum had also been connected with two other deaths in the '90s. However, as Blackfish showed, these deaths could've been prevented if Tilikum had been left in the wild.
Killer whales in captivity often don't live to be 20, so Tilikum outlived plenty of his past SeaWorld peers. However, male killer whales in the wild have an average lifespan of 50 years, with some living to their 60s. In 2014, a 103-year-old female killer whale was spotted on the west coast.
Only time will tell if Tilikum becomes this year's Harambe. R.I.P. to the orca that was dealt a rough hand in life.