Las Vegas is mourning the loss of one of its most famous stars: Mantecore, the white tiger who performed alongside magic heavyweights Siegfried & Roy, has died. The 17-year-old animal passed away on March 19 after a brief illness.
Mantecore appeared in literally thousands of shows during the magicians' run at The Mirage, but will also undoubtedly be remembered for mauling Roy on stage just over a decade ago. The attack had occurred on the entertainer's 59th birthday and landed him in critical care in the hospital.
Roy ultimately survived, though he was left partially paralyzed, and the tiger was quarantined for 10 days while professionals tried (unsuccessfully) to determine what caused his violent behavior. Not surprisingly, the flamboyant duo was forced to close their record-breaking show following the frightening incident, effectively ending their famed careers.
After the show ended and Mantecore was medically cleared, he was returned to The Mirage's Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy attraction, where he remained.
Still, the 79-year-old Las Vegas vet has never blamed the 380-pound animal for what happened. And while no one ever figured out what set Mantecore off, Roy thinks he knows.
"The world has lost one of its most majestic creatures and I have lost a brother," he said in a statement following Mantecore's passing. "I will forever believe it was his concern for my safety and well-being that caused him to act as he did on that night long ago. We spent many hours together and he never failed to bring me great joy and wonderment. It was my great honor to be beside him at the end. He is now playing with his siblings in White Tiger heaven."
"His contribution to the avalanche of awareness for conservation and preservation has made him unforgettable," Roy mused. "His spirit will live forever with Siegfried & Roy and his multitude of fans."