Grab your tissues, folks. A 1,300-pound manatee named Snooty recently passed away after celebrating his 69th birthday. In the wild, manatees are fortunate to live into their teens, which is partly why the elder marine mammal was beloved by so many. According to the South Florida Museum, Snooty’s death was accidental and that the circumstances are being investigated.

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Manatee, Snooty, dead, 69, South Florida Museum

Snooty was born in captivity in 1948 — before laws were passed to protect marine wildlife. Every year, a party was thrown to celebrate the manatee’s birthday. This year, thousands of people traveled from all over to visit the celebrity mammal.

Regarding Snooty’s untimely death, the museum said in a press release, “Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. Early indications are that an access panel door that is normally bolted shut had somehow been knocked loose and that Snooty was able to swim in. Snooty’s habitat undergoes a daily visual inspection and there were no indications the previous day that there was anything amiss. The Aquarium will remain closed while Museum staff continues its investigation and staff who worked with him have an opportunity to grieve.”

Manatee, Snooty, dead, 69, South Florida Museum

In 2015, the manatee was certified as the world’s oldest captive manatee by the Guinness World Records. Just a handful of years prior, he gained notoriety when his life history made him one of the most renowned stewards for endangered species and the environment.

Following the manatee’s death, the museum posted on their Facebook page, saying: “We know that our community and Snooty fans around the world share our grief.”

The South Florida Museum is deeply saddened to share the news that our beloved Snooty has died. Snooty’s death was a…

Posted by South Florida Museum on Sunday, July 23, 2017

Via BayNews9

Images via Sarasota Herald Tribune, Wikimedia Commons