ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – For years, visitors to the Georgia Aquarium have delighted at the antics of Maris, the beluga whale.

But aquarium officials have announced that Maris has died.

“Maris was one of the first beluga whales at Georgia Aquarium and inspired millions of guests each year,” said aquarium CEO Mike Leven. “The bonds that were created over the last ten years between Maris and her animal care and veterinary teams were truly special. This unexpected loss is difficult.”

Officials say Maris showed no signs of distress or ill health before she died.

“This is a case of sudden, acute animal death,” explained chief veterinary officer Dr. Gregory Bossart. “Our animals receive exceptional care, and our dedicated team of experts responded to her within minutes to render aid.”

The beluga whale habitat remains open to the public with whales Qinu and Grayson.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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