He closed Sealand about a year later following heavy criticism by environmentalists. 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.
The 21-year-old was dragged around and kept from surfacing, and when she tried to escape she was dragged back in, eventually drowning.
It's a crime that Tilikum had to die to finally get his freedom.
With the death of Tilikum, SeaWorld now has a total of 22 orcas at its three facilities-in Orlando; San Antonio, Texas; and San Diego, California. The black-and- white five-tonne bull orca was the largest killer whale in captivity.
1999 - A naked man was found dead, draped over Tilikum's body in a breeding tank. An orca at SeaWorld Orlando that appeared in the film, Tilikum, died Friday after suffering a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection.
A Pufferfish contains tetrodotoxin, which is stronger than cyanide.
The whale was temporally removed from the shows, but returned a year later, and continued to perform until his death.
The park has denied allegations that it mistreated orcas, but it did shift its position on captive breeding.
The orca died Friday morning surrounded by trainers and veterinary staff.
"Tilikum had, and will continue to have, a special place in the hearts of the SeaWorld family, as well as the millions of people all over the world that he inspired", SeaWorld President and CEO Joel Manby said in a statement.
Indeed, the big difference in the two Orca deaths is that Granny, the matriarch of the Southern Waters Orca pod (Seattle, Vancouver area), was 105 years old.
It noted that Tilikum was near the upper end of the average life expectancy for a killer whale, and faced "some very serious health issues", it said.
Tilikum, one of SeaWorld's best-known orcas, featured in the documentary "Blackfish", has died, the theme park announced today.
In that sense, Tilikum's tragic legacy has transformed into something more positive. "Sadly, his life was needed for us to realize this tragedy had to stop", Bloom said.
However, SeaWorld pledged that its current crop of killer whales would be its last generation of the creatures.
"11 of his offspring died before him".
SeaWorld San Diego said the show to debut this summer, "Orca Encounter", will feature a killer whale's "natural behaviors" by showing guests how they behave in the wild, how they move, hunt and navigate, what they eat and how they communicate.