Kayla, one of the remaining orca whales at SeaWorld, died suddenly in Orlando on Monday, the company said in a statement. She was 30 years old.
According to the theme park, Kayla started to appear uncomfortable Saturday afternoon. Veterinarians administered treatment based on a physical exam. Kayla's condition worsened over the next couple of days, and she passed away with animal care specialists and veterinarians by her side.
"Any loss of a SeaWorld family member brings great sadness," the company said in a statement. "Kayla’s care team shares a special bond with her and is deeply saddened by her death."
The exact cause of death is unknown. A post-mortem exam will take several weeks to complete, according to the company.
Orcas in the wild can live up to 80 or 90 years, Naomi Rose, a marine-mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, told the Orlando Sentinel. “That’s like literally being a 30-year-old woman," Rose said. "Dying at 30 is not normal.”