Winter the dolphin, star of the Dolphin Tale films, dies at Florida aquarium

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A dolphin with a prosthetic tail that became the star of her own films has died at an aquarium in Florida.

Winter the female bottlenose died in the arms of handlers at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) at around 8pm on Thursday, a spokesperson said in a statement.

The 16-year-old mammal was preparing for surgery and had been suffering from gastrointenstinal abnormalities.

Experts were about to perform an operation when she died.

Veterinarian Dr Shelly Marquardt said: "While we are heartbroken by Winter's death, we are comforted knowing that our team did everything possible to give her the best chance at survival."

Winter, who had lived at CMA for more than 10 years, starred in the 2011 film Dolphin Tale, which documented her pioneering tail replacement procedure and recovery.

She was just two-months-old in 2005 when her tail got caught in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Veterinary experts were forced to amputate and the film, starring Harry Connick Jr and Morgan Freeman, made her rehabilitation a symbol of inspiration for people and animal lovers across the world.

A sequel - Dolphin Tale 2 - was released in 2014.

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