Having received innovative chemotherapeutic care at the Vancouver Aquarium, beloved sea otter Milo, died from lymphoma (a type of cancer) on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. Milo will be missed and we thank everyone who has sent us positive wishes and thoughts over the past months.

Milo rose to worldwide fame when he was filmed holding paws with companion Nyac four years ago. The online video has been viewed by over 16 million people worldwide.

Milo was the first live sea otter to be diagnosed with lymphoma and the first sea otter treated with chemotherapy in the world. Since his diagnosis in August 2011, Vancouver Aquarium’s veterinary team consulted with veterinary oncologists, pathologists, researchers, internists and other specialists from around the world to create a unique treatment plan for Milo. His response to treatment had been very positive for almost six months. Between intensive treatments, Milo spent time in his sea otter habitat with companion Tanu.

The collaboration of veterinary specialists from around the world to create a unique chemotherapeutic treatment plan for a sea otter has resulted in important knowledge that will improve our understanding of sea otter diseases and responses to treatment. Dr. Martin Haulena will be reviewing the preliminary results of the treatment plan and outcomes over the next few months and will share this knowledge with international colleagues to help advance veterinary care in future cases.