Coronavirus killed a lion of a Star today: Roy of Siegfried & Roy dead

Coronavirus killed a lion of a Star today: Roy of Siegfried & Roy dead

They both loved tigers and they loved each other. They were one of the biggest travel and tourism attractions on the Las Vegas Strip for decades.

The most famous and admired American-German couple was torn apart from a lifetime partnership when Las Vegas Star Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy was killed by the deadly Coronavirus.

“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend. From the moment we met, I knew Roy and me, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried. From the moment we met, I knew Roy and me, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried. Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days. I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses, and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy’s life.”

This was the statement released by Roy’s partner Siegfried Fischbacher. The couple has rarely talked about their relationship or about their sexuality publicly.  Siegfried moved to Italy in 1956 and began working at a hotel. He eventually found work performing magic on the ship the TS Bremen under the stage name Delmare. Siegfried and Roy met while Siegfried was performing aboard the ship, and asked Roy to assist him during a show.

Roy Horn was born Uwe Ludwig Horn on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham, Germany,  in the midst of bomb attacks, to Johanna Horn. His biological father died in World War ll, and his mother remarried after the war ended. Horn’s mother remarried a construction worker and later began work in a factory. Horn had three brothers: Manfred, Alfred, and Werner. Horn became interested in animals at a very young age and cared for his childhood dog, named Hexe.

Horn’s mother’s friend’s husband, Emil, was the founder of the Bremen Zoo, which gave Horn access to exotic animals from the age of 10.  Horn visited the United States briefly when his shipwrecked and was towed to New York City. He returned home to Bremen before returning to the sea as a waiter, where he met Fischbacher and launched his performance career.

The owner of the Astoria Theatre in Bremen, Germany, saw Fischbacher and Horn’s act aboard a Caribbean cruise ship and recruited the duo to perform at her nightclub. This launched a career on the European nightclub circuit, and the duo began to perform with tigers. They were discovered performing in Paris by Tony Azzie, who asked them to come to Las Vegas in 1967. They spent some time in Puerto Rico and may have purchased property there.

In 1981, Ken Feld of Irvin & Kenneth Feld Productions started the Beyond Belief show with Fischbacher and Horn at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. A revamped version of the show was taken on a world tour in the third quarter of 1988.

On October 3, 2003, during a show at the Las Vegas Mirage, a seven-year-old white tiger named Mantecore attacked Roy. As part of the act but veering off script, Roy held his microphone to Mantecore’s mouth and told him to say “hello” to the audience. Mantecore responded by biting Roy’s sleeve. Roy swatted the Tiger and barked “release!” but Mantecore then knocked Roy down with his leg and pinned him to the floor.

As standby trainers rushed in from offstage to assist, Mantecore bit into Roy’s neck and carried him offstage. Trainers were finally able to get the tiger to release Roy after spraying him with CO2 canisters, the last resort available.

The attack severed Roy’s spine, inflicted critical blood loss, and caused severe injuries to other parts of his body, permanently affecting his ability to move, walk, and speak. Roy also suffered a stroke although doctors at the only Level I trauma center in Nevada, University Medical Center, could not determine if the stroke occurred before or after Mantecore dragged him offstage.

While being taken to the hospital, Roy said, “Mantecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Mantecore.” Roy told People Magazine in September 2004 that Mantecore “saved his life” by attempting to drag him to safety after he suffered a stroke. Steve Wynn, the owner of the Mirage, later said the tiger was reacting to a “beehive” hairdo adorning a female audience member in the front row. The injury to Roy prompted the Mirage to close the show and 267 cast and crew members were laid off.

When trainer Chris Lawrence, who saved Roy’s life by deploying the CO2 canisters, later refuted Siegfried & Roy’s and Steve Wynn’s explanations for why the tiger attacked Roy, the duo responded by calling Lawrence an “alcoholic.” Lawrence stated that Mantecore was “off” that night and in an irritable mood and Roy had failed to recognize that, resulting in Mantecore “doing what tigers do” – attacking.

Lawrence later said he believed that Siegfried & Roy and the Mirage covered up the real reason for the attack in order to protect their image and brand.

In August 2004, their act became the basis for the short-lived television series Father of the Pride. Right before its release, the series was almost canceled, until Siegfried & Roy urged NBC to continue production after Roy’s condition from the injury of October 2003 improved. By March 2006, Roy was talking and walking, with assistance from Siegfried, and appeared on Pat O’Brien’s television news program The Insider to discuss his daily rehabilitation.

In February 2009, the duo staged a final appearance with Mantecore as a benefit for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (although Chris Lawrence, the animal handler who interceded in the Mantecore incident, has stated that this performance involved a different tiger). Their performance was recorded for broadcast on ABC television’s 20/20 program.

On April 23, 2010, Siegfried & Roy retired from show business. “The last time we closed, we didn’t have a lot of warning,” said longtime manager Bernie Yuman. “This is farewell. This is the dot at the end of the sentence.” Mantecore died on March 19, 2014, after a brief illness. He was 17 years old.

In June 2016, it was announced that Siegfried & Roy would be producing a biopic film, documenting their lives.

In late April 2020, Roy revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was reportedly “responding well to treatment”. However, his condition deteriorated and he died today at the Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas.

He was 75, and the duo’s spokesperson – who first announced the news of his death – confirmed that it was due to complications from the disease.

At the International Day of Tiger Siegfried and Roy had posted:

Dear Friends and Fans.

It is the International Day of the Tiger and sadly we have lost 97% of all wild tigers in a bit over 100 years. Instead of 100,000, as few as 3000 live in the wild today. A number of Tiger species are already extinct in the wild. At this rate, all tigers living in the wild could be extinct in 5 years!

Two primary reasons of this unprecedented decline are –

Habitat loss
Tigers lost 93% of their natural habitat due to the expansion of cities and agriculture by humans.Fewer tigers can survive in small, scattered islands of habitat, which lead to a higher risk of inbreeding

Human wildlife conflict
People and tigers are competing for space. The conflict threatens the world’s remaining wild tigers and poses a major problem for communities living in or near tiger forests.

YOU can make a Difference on International Tiger Day in the survival of Tigers in the Wild:

Donate to the SAVE THE TIGER Foundation




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