Roy Horn, who was part of the famed Las Vegas Siegfried & Roy tiger act duo, has died, according to a press release from Siegfried & Roy’s team. Horn was 75 years old.
What was his cause of death? How did Horn die? His partner Siegfried Fischbacher said in the press release that COVID-19 “ultimately took Roy’s life.” Horn died just over a week after he tested positive for coronavirus. Siegfried called COVID-19 an “insidious virus.”
The statement announced that “Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, whose collaboration with Siegfried Fischbacher created the world-renowned duo Siegfried & Roy, died of complications from COVID-19 today (May 8, 2020) in a Las Vegas hospital.”
In late April 2020, it was confirmed that Horn had COVID-19. His publicist confirmed that he had coronavirus in a statement to ABC News, saying at that time:
We can confirm that Roy Horn has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and is currently responding well to treatment, Most importantly, Siegfried & Roy send positive wishes to everyone impacted by the pandemic. We will have no further comment on Roy’s recovery at this time and ask everyone to respect his right to privacy.
Many will remember that Horn was wounded by a tiger in 2003. He recovered from those injuries, but they changed his life forever and left him with partial paralysis.
Here’s what you need to know:
Siegfried Released a Statement Confirming the Sad News of Roy’s Death & Calling Him ‘One of the Greats of Magic’
In the statement, Siegfried confirmed Roy’s death. “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 I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried,” he said.
Siegfried then addressed Horn’s cause of death in the statement, saying, “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.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal also confirmed Roy’s death. ”Together, Siegfried & Roy redefined live magic by combining remarkable stagecraft with rare and endangered animals. In doing so, the duo created the modern era for Las Vegas entertainment,” the statement from the pair’s team read.
Siegfried & Roy launched their white lion and tiger act in 1990 at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The act was changed forever by Horn’s injuries from the tiger mauling, which left him partially paralyzed.
According to the Review-Journal, Siegfried and Roy first met on a cruise ship, where Horn worked as a waiter and Fischbacher as a steward. That was back in 1957, and Fischbacher was already performing, in that case magic tricks. Horn became his assistant, and soon they had a show in Monte Carlo, where they were discovered.
According to the statement from his team, Roy developed a “connectivity to animals from an early age, beginning with his beloved wolfdog Hexe and his pet cheetah, Chico, which he adopted from the Bremen Zoo. While working as a steward on a cruise ship, Roy assisted in a performance of Siegfried’s magic act. After the show, Roy asked the question that changed both of their lives, ‘Siegfried, disappearing rabbits are ordinary, but can you make a cheetah disappear?’”
Siegfried paused and responded, “In magic, anything is possible.” Roy had already smuggled his pet cheetah on board the cruise.
“So began a 50-year entertainment odyssey that took Siegfried & Roy around the world, breaking box office records from Japan to Radio City Music Hall,” the statement says. “But it was their four decade-long run in Las Vegas that established them as global superstars.”
Once their popular Las Vegas show ended in 2003, they spent their time at their 100-acre estate in Vegas, the newspaper reported.
Fans Offered Tributes to Roy Horn on Social Media
Tributes to the entertainer flooded into the pair’s Facebook page. “I just saw on abc news Roy passed from covid complications. Such sad news. Rip Roy and fly high with the angels,” wrote one fan.
“Absolutely devastated to wake up and hear this news. Today the world lost one of the greatest illusionists of our time.” wrote another. “Rest in Peace Roy Horn. You were a part of my childhood,” another fan wrote. “I Loved and enjoyed every show I ever saw. May you RIP.”
Roy Uwe Horn was born in 1944 in Germany. “My mother, Johanna Horn had the misfortune of being nine months pregnant when Allied bombings began to light up Bremerhaven and the neighboring city of Nordenham—two major defense ports—like a blood red torch,” he said on the pair’s website.
“Houses were burning, and everyone was screaming. Those that weren’t buried under rubble rushed to the Weser, where there were small boats and the comparative safety of the water.” His father fought on the Russian front but returned a changed man, and Horn’s parents divorced. His mother remarried, but his stepfather turned to alcohol. This forced his mother to work, and the young Roy often had to fend for himself. Thus, started his life-long love of animals, according to the website, which says his only real friend was his dog named Hexe.
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