Celebrities mourn Roy Horn, ‘the true Tiger King,’ after death from COVID-19 complications

Roy Horn (L), depicted with Siegried Fischbacher, of the iconic magic group Siegfried & Roy, died on May 8, 2020 of complications from COVID-19.
Roy Horn (L), depicted with Siegried Fischbacher, of the iconic magic group Siegfried & Roy, died on May 8, 2020 of complications from COVID-19.

Celebrities are mourning the death of Roy Horn, one half of the famed Las Vegas magic group Siegfried & Roy, who died on Friday from complications of COVID-19 at age 75.

“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Siegfried Fischbacher said in a statement published by Variety. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, 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.”

Horn’s publicist confirmed the death to the New York Times on Friday, not long after sharing his diagnosis with ABC News in April.

Siegfried & Roy’s 1989 act ended in 2003 when Horn was mauled onstage by a 400-pound tiger named Mantecore. Horn suffered both a stroke and partial paralysis and the injuries he sustained were lifelong. However, Horn always defended Mantecore, even referring to the animal as his “lifesaver.”

Since the announcement, there has been an outpouring of grief on social media from both celebrities and fans.

Magician Criss Angel tweeted a video of himself standing under a painting of the duo, saying, “Magic has had one of the biggest losses” adding, “No words can put into meaning how much Siegfried & Roy has meant to me and my career and to my life and to the dream of Vegas.” He said the group had always been kind to him “when no one knew who the hell I was.”

Penn Jillette, of the comedy group Penn & Teller, also mourned the loss of Horn and, like Angel, credited him with paving the path for his career. “If not for S&R there would be no P&T in Vegas,” Jillette tweeted. “He was so full of life, wild, and unpredictable. We will miss him.”

Illusionist David Blaine also shared a memory on Instagram: “So sorry to hear about the loss of Roy, a very pivotal magician that opened the doors for many of us,” he wrote. “In this photo I asked both Siegfried and Roy to do a serious pose (it was tough for Siegfried but Roy managed!)” Blaine recalled receiving a bouquet of flowers from the men, calling them “gracious.”

He added, “At one of their shows, they stopped mid-show, put a spotlight on me (pretty embarrassing) and said some very kind words. Thank you Roy for your contribution to the art. You will be missed but never forgotten.”

NBC News anchor Maria Shriver, also shared a video of an interview with the men. “...They were in a league of their own,” she tweeted. “Hard working, creative, masters of illusion & so magical. My heart goes out to Siegfried. They were an extraordinary duo.”

ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts posted an Instagram photo of an interview with Siegfried & Roy that took place last summer. “....Even after the ravages is a stroke following that onstage tiger attack, his bravado and humor were still intact,” she wrote. “He told me that he dreamed of going back on stage during this visit. Still spirited after all he had endured. 75 year old Roy was hospitalized with the virus. Wishing him peace.”

Actor David Hasselhoff posted an Instagram photo with the group calling Horn “the True Tiger King” adding, “...Roy was an absolute showman and great friend!”

Other condolences came from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who tweeted, “I always loved seeing Siegfried & Roy, two great immigrants who set a new standard for entertainment. No one could match their talent and energy. They literally had the best show in the history of Vegas. I loved watching Roy’s magic and stunts. I can’t believe he’s gone.”

And “Mr. Las Vegas” himself Wayne Newton wrote on Instagram, “...Having known Roy from the time he and [Siegfried] first came to Las Vegas, words cannot express what he has meant to not only our city, but to those around the world. He worked tirelessly to bring happiness and joy to so many people. Rest In Peace my dear friend. You will be missed but never forgotten.”

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