Winter the Dolphin, the Famed Star of ‘Dolphin Tale,’ Passes Away

Angelina Astic, Contents/Copy Editor

While receiving treatment for a gastrointestinal abnormality on Thursday, Nov. 13, Winter the Dolphin died at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. The 16-year old dolphin, made famous by her recovery from the loss of her tail as a result of an injury from a crab trap line, was subsequently featured in the ‘Dolphin Tale’ films. 

Winter, who learned how to swim again with the help of a prosthetic tail, had resided at Clearwater Marine Aquarium since her accident in 2005. During the week of Nov. 7, Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff updated their page with news regarding Winter’s condition. Bloodwork showed that Winter had been fighting a gastrointestinal infection, a diagnosis made after members of her care team noticed some unusual behavioral and eating patterns. 

Later that week on Nov. 10, staff posted another update alerting followers that Winter’s condition had turned critical and that Clearwater Marine Aquarium had begun consulting with specialists across the country in an attempt to save her life. On Nov. 11, staff announced that Winter passed away as a result of the abnormality, noting that many life-saving measures had been taken, and that she had passed away surrounded by her life-long caregivers. 

In the wake of her passing, Clearwater Marine Aquarium closed its doors to the public on Friday, Nov. 12 in order to allow her caregivers time to grieve. Since the announcement of her death, stars of the ‘Dolphin Tale’ films have posted tributes in honor of the late Winter. Stars of the films, such as Nathan Gamble (Sawyer Nelson), Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Hazel Haskett) and Harry Connick Jr. (Dr. Clay Haskett) all shared pictures and videos commemorating Winter on social media. 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium has created a fundraiser in honor of Winter’s passing where individuals can donate funds and share memories of her. The Aquarium has also announced plans for a memorial for Winter. For more information, visit