10/07/2015 02:40 EDT | Updated 10/07/2015 02:59 EDT

Corky The Sea Otter Dies After Landmark Operation At Vancouver Aquarium

Veterinarians had hoped to keep Corky alive by removing a kidney, but he died Wednesday.

VANCOUVER — Experimental surgery to save an injured Vancouver Island sea otter dubbed "Corky'' wasn't enough to save the animal's life.

Veterinarians had hoped to keep Corky alive by removing a kidney and performing a blood transfusion, but the Vancouver Aquarium confirms Corky died early Wednesday morning.

It's believed he had been hit by a boat and suffered a fractured rib and other injuries before he was rescued in August near Tofino, B.C.

Members of the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre were nursing the otter but tried the never-before attempted surgery when tests showed one of Corky's kidneys had ruptured.

Rescue centre manager Emily Johnson says everyone hoped the otter would beat the odds and pull through, because he seemed to have so much will.

Corky earned his nickname because his original injuries trapped air under his skin, leaving him unable to dive or forage for food, but as the rib healed, the kidney injury was discovered.

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