The museum made the devastating announcement Sunday afternoon on Facebook. News Channel 8 confirmed the news with a museum spokesperson.
His death is being referred to as a “tragic accident.” Circumstances are still being investigated.
“Our initial investigation indicates that Snooty’s death was a heartbreaking accident and we’re all quite devastated about his passing,” Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio said in a release. “We’re reviewing what happened and will be conducting a full investigation into the circumstances”
Snooty was found in an underwater area that’s only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system, according to museum staff. They say it seems that an access panel door that’s normally bolted shut had somehow been knocked loose and the manatee was able to swim in.
Three other manatees in his habitat are all okay.
The aquarium will stay closed while staff continue to investigate and grieve Snooty’s death.
News Channel 8 will be getting updates from museum officials Sunday afternoon.
The beloved manatee celebrated his record-breaking birthday this weekend after he officially turned 69 on Friday.
Snooty was born in Miami and has never lived in the wild.
Snooty is listed as the World’s Oldest Manatee in Captivity in the Guinness World Records 2017 Edition.