‘Dolphin Tale’ fans mourn death of film’s star Winter at 16

CLEARWATER (Fla.) -- Amy Carmichael is more than 4,000 miles (6400 km) away from the Florida aquarium where Winter, the movie star of "Dolphin Tale", died last week. Winter was a prosthetic tail. Carmichael has fought leukemia for most of her adult life and felt a strong connection.

‘Dolphin Tale’ fans mourn death of film’s star Winter at 16

CLEARWATER (Fla.) -- Amy Carmichael is more than 4,000 miles (6400 km) away from the Florida aquarium where Winter, the movie star of "Dolphin Tale", died last week. Winter was a prosthetic tail. Carmichael has fought leukemia for most of her adult life and felt a strong connection.

Carmichael (17 years old) said that it was not just a dolphin. She spoke to her family in Stonehouse, Scotland, by phone on Friday. "She was saved and had to fight through. That made me feel confident that I could do it. "I was also fighting through."

Carmichael met Winter, like many others with disabilities and illnesses, a few years back at the home of the bottlenose dolphin in Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Florida’s Gulf Coast. These trips inspired everyone, from autistic children to soldiers missing limbs. Winter passed away Thursday due to a gastrointestinal illness. This saddens fans all over the globe.

"Winter was an exceptional creature. "Winter was an extraordinary creature. She inspired millions with her courage, her strength, and her joy," Broderick Johnson (producers of the 2011 film "Dolphin tale") said. The film told the story of Winter's recovery after an amputated tail. It had become entangled in a crab trap rope cutting circulation.

Alcon Entertainment's producers released the following statement: "She may not be with us anymore in body, but she will continue on the lives of all those she touched."

The film stars Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd as well as Kris Kristofferson and Morgan Freeman. It was mostly shot at Clearwater Aquarium and other Tampa Bay locations.

Internationally, the film helped to put the aquarium, which was established in 1972 at the site of an old water treatment plant. The facility also runs manatee and sea turtle rescue programs. It recently underwent a $80 million renovation, which included a large new dolphin tank. This was largely due to the huge crowds that Winter attracted.

Angelina Bongiovanni, a 15-year-old girl from Washington Township, New Jersey fell in love with Winter when she first saw "Dolphin Tale," according to her mother.

Angelina, a child with multiple heart defects and an extremely rare chromosome disorder, was able to see the movie while she was in hospital.

It touched her like nothing else. Winter inspired her. Laura Bongiovanni, her mother, said that she was only inspired by Winter.

Angelina was unable to leave the hospital and kept asking for a trip to the aquarium. Angelina's mother stated that her family had planned to take Angelina to Clearwater. Angelina was "overjoyed" by the experience. She was speaking to her, and she was interfacing with her.

Winter was not able to reach this point easily.

The aquarium began working closely with Hanger Clinic to make her tail shortly after she arrived from her 2005 rescue. Winter could have survived on her own, but she would have been unable to use her side flippers to swim. This would have caused skeletal misalignment, and other health problems.

Hanger's vice-president of prosthetics Kevin Carroll said that attaching the tail to Winter's skin was a significant challenge. This is a problem that can sometimes be a problem for prosthetic-wearing humans. It's even worse in dolphins who have skin so thin it can be cut with one finger, Carroll stated.

Carroll's team developed a soft silicone-like sleeve through trial and error. It is now known as WintersGel. The prosthetic tail was then placed snugly on top of the sleeve. These sleeves can be used to make human prosthetics. They have virtually eliminated the need for skin sores.

Carroll stated, "She was a wonderful patient - very accepting."

According to a Clearwater aquarium statement, Winter died around 8 p.m. on Thursday while being cared for by experts in animal care. They were preparing her for an operation to treat her intestinal problems. Friday's closure was due to the grief of its most beloved resident. It will reopen on Saturday.

To honor Winter, a memorial service will be held on Nov. 20. James Powell, the aquarium's president, stated that no other animals were ill at the aquarium, including Hope, a rescued dolphin who appeared alongside Winter in "Dolphin Tale 2".

Powell stated that no animal can replace Winter.

Powell stated, "The world is so sorry to have lost an animal ambassador who has inspired us all." I am always moved by the impact she has had on people's lives. It has been overwhelming. It is very touching.

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