Whale Trainer's Family Speaks Out About 'Tremendous Loss'

02/25/2010 at 07:25 PM EST

Whale Trainer's Family Speaks Out About 'Tremendous Loss'
Dawn Brancheau with killer whale Nalani
Dawn Brancheau's family remembered the SeaWorld trainer who died in a fatal killer whale attack as a "loving person" who always dreamed of working with animals.

Here is a text of her family's statement issued through SeaWorld of Orlando, as reported by Florida TV's News 13.

You have all heard what an amazing trainer Dawn Brancheau was and it is true – she was the best. It came naturally to her. Being a trainer was a life-long dream that she achieved. She loved her job, and she loved her animals.

For her husband, family and friends, Dawn was so much more. She was a compassionate and loving person who lived life to the fullest. She touched so many lives. Those who knew and loved her have suffered a tremendous loss, one so unexpected that it is extremely difficult to even process or comprehend at this time. Our family sincerely appreciates everyone’s prayers and compassionate thoughts for Dawn, her husband and family.

While we understand that this tragic event is capturing headlines across the country, at this time, our family needs space and privacy to absorb our loss. We sincerely hope that the media will honor and respect this request.

Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending.

Thank you.

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