Declining health and death
SeaWorld announced in March 2016 Tilikum's health was deteriorating, and it was thought he had a lung infection due to bacterial pneumonia, a common cause of death in captive and wild whales and dolphins. In May 2016, it was reported Tilikum's health was improving. On January 6, 2017, SeaWorld announced that Tilikum had died early in the morning. The cause of death was bacterial infection.