VANCOUVER - Sad news from the Vancouver Aquarium — the beluga whale named Aurora has died.
The aquarium released a statement late Friday night that said Aurora was surrounded by people who loved her when she passed away, including some who have cared for her since she arrived at the facility in 1990.
Aurora was in intensive care and being treated by a team at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.
The news came as somewhat of a shock, as veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena had said earlier Friday that Aurora was showing signs of improvement after undergoing a new treatment plan targeting her gastrointestinal tract. He had noted that she was more active and was again interacting with trainers.
Aurora had been stricken by an unknown illness, with symptoms of abdominal cramping, loss of appetite and lethargy, since her offspring Qila died suddenly at the aquarium last week.
The 30-year-old beluga was moved to a medical pool for round-the-clock care more than a week ago.
Aurora died surrounded by some of the people who took care of her when she arrived at the facility in 1990.
"Named after the aurora borealis, or northern lights, Aurora immediately won hearts and inspired generations of visitors, employees and volunteers with her curious nature and gentle personality," added the statement.
Aurora was the only remaining beluga at the aquarium.
A necropsy will be conducted later.
With a file from HuffPost Canada