The sea lion contracted a progressive disease last year, the organization said. SeaWorld didn’t name the disease or its cause but said that Freeway’s health had deteriorated so much over the past year that the team made the “extremely difficult, but compassionate decision to humanely euthanize him.”
“Freeway” made headlines last year when wandered onto a California highway and brought traffic to a crawl, CBS San Diego reported. It wasn’t the first time that Freeway had made it so far from Sea World: Months earlier, he was rescued from a different highway.
SeaWorld officials said in a statement the sea lion had been showing up at different locations around San Diego. Freeway had a “track record of wandering into odd places,” the statement said: he was rescued from Harbor Island Drive near the airport, on the boardwalk, near a deli in Mission Bay and on the Navy Base in Point Loma.
“His adventurous spirit won the hearts of all San Diegans and he will be remembered for that and so much more,” SeaWorld said.