PORTLAND — One of the oldest sea otters in the world has passed away due to old age.
The Oregon Zoo said that Eddie, who was nearly 21-years-old, was humanely euthanized Thursday morning following a decline related to his old age.
“Male sea otters seldom live past 15 years, so Eddie was among the very oldest of his kind,” Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s marine life area, said online.
Eddie’s “hoop skills” reportedly earned him worldwide fame.
He was orphaned as a pup along the California coast in 1998 and lacked skills to survive on his own in the wild, according to the zoo.
Eddie was taken to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s rescue and care program for rehabilitation and than taken to the Oregon Zoo in 2000.
However, in 2013 Eddie gained his fame when video of his exercise routine went viral. Zoo keepers reportedly trained him to dunk a toy basketball as therapy for his arthritic elbow joints the prior year.
Then, when they released the behind-the-scenes video of Eddie’s “hoop dreams” it earned more than 1.7 million views.
In fact, Eddie’s basketball fame even earned him a 20th birthday present from the Portland Trail Blazers mascot, the zoo said on their website. The mascot gave Eddie a basket of enrichment toys and added a brand-new Blazers logo on the backboard at his training pool.
It’s clear that Eddie has captured the hearts of many people across the globe and will be missed.
The Oregon Zoo wrote in their video honoring Eddie that he will always be remembered for his “fiesty, playful spirit.”