Tilikum, Seaworld’s Killer Whale Featured In ‘Blackfish,’ Is Dying

Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Tilikum, the orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer in 2010 and was featured in the documentary Blackfish, has been diagnosed with a potentially fatal respiratory disease.

SeaWorld released a statement saying that Tilikum has become more lethargic, and now he’s being treated for what they believe to be a bacterial infection that currently has no cure.

“We are saddened to report that over the past few weeks, Tilikum’s behavior has become increasingly lethargic, and the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams are concerned that his health is beginning to deteriorate,” the statement reads.

“Our teams are treating him with care and medication for what we believe is a bacterial infection in his lungs. However, the suspected bacteria is very resistant to treatment and a cure for his illness has not been found.”

Maybe if the animal didn’t live his whole life in captivity, this wouldn’t be an issue. In fact, he’s been living in captivity since 1983 and has been with SeaWorld since 1992. He is estimated to be about 35-years-old.

Meanwhile, SeaWorld attributes Tilikum’s condition mainly to old age. “Tilikum is beloved by the trainers and vets who care for him each day, as well as the thousands of fans who have connected with him during shows and underwater viewing,” reads the statement. “We truly appreciate your continued support.”

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Megan HeintzCOLLEGECANDY Writer
Editor. Writer. Traveler. Shoe obsessed. While judging people on how they use "their" vs. "they're" on social media, she enjoys eating anything (literally anything) with Sriracha and binge-watching HGTV.