Tilikum, orca that killed trainer, has died, SeaWorld says

Blackfish prompted calls for SeaWorld to end its orca shows, and in 2015, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment CEO Joel Manby promised reform for San Diego's performances.

SeaWorld San Diego announced it is ending its killer whale show after the death of Tilikum the whale - but it's not completely over.

It went on to say the orca's life was "inextricably connected" with the death of Dawn Brancheau, but that he had nonetheless enjoyed the "best care possible".

Thought to be about 36 years old, Tilikum drew global attention for dragging a SeaWorld trainer underwater to her death during a 2010 show in Florida.

"Tilikum's life will always be inextricably connected with the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Dawn Brancheau", SeaWorld said in a statement.

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Tilikum had been experiencing declining health and receiving treatment for a bacterial lung infection, the company said in a news release.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals tweeted a photo of Tilikum on Friday along with the message: "RIP Tilikum".

Last year, SeaWorld promised to stop breeding killer whales in captivity.

Tilikum was bred and spent 25 years in captivity at SeaWorld.

Tilikum was the most prolific male orca at SeaWorld, according to BBC News, as he sired 14 calves. The first incident occurred in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in which Tilikum along with two other orcas killed a trainer-cum-competitive swimmer after she accidentally slipped into the pool.

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Tilikum's story and those of the people killed - including a Seaworld trainer in 2010 - were told in the 2013 documentary.

Her death was not the only one linked to Tilikum at SeaWorld. The 40-year-old handler was cooperating with Tilikum before a live gathering of people at SeaWorld Orlando when he pulled her from a stage and held her under the water.

Hargrove also featured in the documentary Blackfish, which showcased Tilikum's life, the trainer's death and the condition of killer whales in captivity.

1999 - A naked man was found dead, draped over Tilikum's body in a breeding tank.

"The trainers aren't safe, and the whales aren't happy", said "Blackfish" director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, as quoted by the Associated Press.

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