A 1995 photo of Klondike and sister Snow from SeaWorld's then Wild Arctic attraction. SeaWorld
ORLANDO, Fla. -- SeaWorld's famous polar bear, 18-year-old Klondike, has died.
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The polar bear's death was unexpected, according to a Friday news release.
After eating, the animal returned to its den on Thursday night. It was discovered dead Friday morning.
SeaWorld veterinarians believe Klondike died while sleeping.
"Klondike was part of our animal family," Mike Boos, SeaWorld Orlando's vice president of zoological operations, said in a prepared statement. "We have team members who have known Klondike since he arrived in 1995. They're sad and feeling the loss of this amazing animal."
Klondike and sister Snow were abandoned at birth and cared for first by experts at the Denver Zoo. They were moved to SeaWorld to take center stage at the Wild Arctic attraction.
According to the release, a necropsy has been performed on Klondike, but the results won't be known for six to eight weeks. Polar bears usually live between 15 and 18 years in the wild.
Klondike's sister, Snow, died last year at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson.