6-year-old orca female dies at SeaWorld San Diego

SAN DIEGO — A 6-year-old female orca died at SeaWorld San Diego on Thursday, officials said.

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The animal died unexpectedly, and a cause of death will not be known until the results of a postmortem examination have been completed, KNSD reported.

The killer whale, named Amaya, began showing signs of illness on Wednesday, according to KSWB.

“The entire SeaWorld family is saddened by the loss,” SeaWorld San Diego said in a statement. “Amaya began showing signs of illness on Aug. 18, and animal care specialists and veterinarians began treating her immediately.

“Despite her care team’s efforts, Amaya’s condition continued to decline rapidly. Her death was sudden and unexpected,” the statement continued. “This is a very difficult time for those who knew and loved Amaya. She inspired millions of guests to appreciate and learn more about this amazing species. The specialists who cared for her at SeaWorld are heartbroken.”

Amaya, whose name means “night rain,” was the youngest orca at SeaWorld, according to KNSD. Her mother was Kalia, and her father was Ulises. Both orcas live at SeaWorld San Diego, according to SeaWorld’s website.