Carlita spent most of her life in the Tiger Temple exhibit at Zoo Miami with two normally colored Bengal tigers, The Miami Herald reported. She outlived her partners, Lyric and Roshe, and was transferred to a forested sanctum at the zoo in May 2012 to live out her final days in privacy.
Ron Magill said officials made the decision to euthanize Carlita because her health was failing and put her down Monday. At 21, she had far outlived the 12-year normal life expectancy of wild tigers.
Magill said Carlita was the star of the exhibit.
"There's just something about that cat with the ice-blue eyes and that white fur," Magill said.
But he said Zoo Miami is not looking for another white tiger. The coloring is a mutation, and he said attempts to breed white tigers have become "a borderline circus act."
Instead, the zoo is acquiring two endangered Sumatran tiger cubs and hopes they will eventually produce offspring of their own.
Magill said Carlita was a big loss for many employees.
"She was a tiger, don't get me wrong, but as tigers go she was a gentle soul, she was very easy to work around," Magill said. "I saw a lot of tears today from people who worked with her."