The startling documentary Blackfish exposes the treatment and living conditions of orca whales in modern society and theme parks like Seaworld. Since the film's release, widespread criticism over places that keep enormous whales in captivity has popped up all over.
Sadly, Tilikum, the Orca that was heavily featured in the documentary, has recently passed away due to a bacterial lung infection.
Seaworld announced the tragic news and that veterinarians had been treating the 36-year-old Orca for some time.
The park spoke about Tilikum's passing, along with the persistent health problems that animal faced.
"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...My heart goes out to our team who cared for him like family," said Seaworld President & CEO, Joel Manby.
The park came under fire after the release of the film, but their response has been looked upon as favorable by some animal rights activists. Seaworld avers that they haven't collected any whales from the wild and announced back in March that they will no longer breed Orcas.
Also, the whales that are currently in Seaworld will be the last ones under the care of humans; they're phasing the program out.
The official cause of Tilikum's death is unknown, but vets say the whale's bacterial lung infection caused by germs found in both zoo and natural settings as the source of the animal's health complications.