Baby Beluga Dies: Inspiration Behind Children's Song

A beluga whale that was the inspiration behind a popular children's song created over 30 years ago died recently at an aquarium in Canada.

Kavna, the beluga whale that inspired the famous children's song "Baby Beluga" by Raffi Cavoukian, died from a possible cancer-related illness this week at the Vancouver Aquarium, reports indicate.

The 46-year-old whale had spent her entire life in captivity, but lived well beyond the life expectancy of her species, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Aquarium workers explained that belugas typically live 25 to 30 years, and that Kavna could have been much older than first thought.

After conducting a preliminary autopsy, aquarium veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena told reporters that he uncovered a series of cancerous lesions that pointed to a recent and fast-spreading cancer.

"Right now, the lesions are most consistent with a cancer, and that is unfortunately a disease we associated with age," Haulena told the Canadian Press."We're looking at a great life for a great whale who had almost nothing wrong with her."

Kavna had been with the aquarium since 1975. Four years after her arrival, children's singer and songwriter Raffi Cavoukian visited the aquarium. His interaction with Kavna inspired him to write "Baby Beluga," a song about an imaginary baby whale who swims and plays at sea.

"The folks at the aquarium brought me to poolside and the trainer helped me to play with Kavna. Kavna even came out of the water and placed a gentle, graceful kiss on my cheek and I couldn't stop talking about it for a couple of weeks," Raffi told The Sun during an interview.

"She was just so beautiful," Raffi said. "She was so playful and she had a very pure spirit and you could swear she smiled at you … On a day like this, I'm mostly thinking about the joy of knowing Kavna."