SAN DIEGO — After showing signs of illness, a 6-year-old female orca has died at SeaWorld San Diego, the park said Thursday.
The orca, Amaya, died with animal care specialists by its side, according to a statement from park officials.
"The entire SeaWorld family is saddened by the loss," the park said in a statement.
Amaya started showing signs of illness on Aug. 18, and animal care specialists and veterinarians began treating the orca immediately.
"Despite her care team's efforts, Amaya's condition continued to decline rapidly. Her death was sudden and unexpected," SeaWorld's statement read.
The 6-year-old orca was the youngest at SeaWorld, according to the park's website. The whale's official cause of death has not yet been determined, pending a complete post-mortem examination.
"This is a very difficult time for those who knew and loved Amaya," SeaWorld's statement read. "She inspired millions of guests to appreciate and learn more about this amazing species. The specialists who cared for her at SeaWorld are heartbroken."
This story was originally published by Krista Summerville on Scripps station KGTV in San Diego.