Roy Horn of the Siegfried & Roy magician duo died on Friday, May 8, at the age of 75 from COVID-19. The German performer, whose full name was Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, contracted the virus a few weeks ago but was said to be “responding well” to treatment. His publicist confirmed that the performer died at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Roy was born on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham, Germany. He worked as a waiter on a cruise liner in 1957, where met Siegfried, who was working as a steward. Siegfried was also performing magic tricks for the guests, and Roy became his assistant. They began performing as a duo and soon started incorporating exotic animals. They performed all across Europe in theaters and nightclubs before moving their show to Las Vegas.
Here’s what you need to know about Roy Horn’s death:
1. Roy Tested Positive for COVID-19 in April But Was Said to Be ‘Responding Well’ to Treatment
Roy’s publicist shared his initial positive diagnosis with fans on April 29, telling ABC News: “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.”
Earlier in April, Siegfried & Roy reached out to their fans about the pandemic. ABC 20/20 posted their statement to their fans, which said: “We know the real magic in all of us caring, cheering, loving, and thanking one another will return everyone to good health and happiness. We can’t wait until it is possible for all of us to hug each other safely again.”
2. Roy’s Partner of Many Decades Released a Touching Tribute About the Death of His ‘Best Friend’
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.
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.
Siegfried and Roy were very close from the moment they met, and after their show ended in 2003, they lived together at their sprawling Little Bavaria estate in Las Vegas. The two were once described by The Hollywood Reporter as lifelong friends and former lovers, but they rarely spoke publicly about their relationship.
3. Many Have Posted Tributes & Expressed Sorrow at the Passing of the Performer
Since the news broke on Friday of Roy’s death, many have taken to social media to post their sadness at the news and share tributes to the performer.
The Mirage in Las Vegas, where the two performed for over a decade, posted:
The tweet reads: “Roy Horn helped change the face of Las Vegas and the world of entertainment with his big dreams. The good thing about legends, though, is that they live on forever.”
It came as a response to a tweet from MGM Resorts which reads: “The world lost a legendary figure with the passing of Roy Horn. His story, and the story of Siegfried & Roy, are larger than life. Our hearts go out to Roy’s family and friends, and most notably to Siegfried who shared a lifetime of magic and friendship with this special man.”
One person said:
The tweet reads: “My heart broke a little more with the loss of Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy. May his memory be a blessing and I hope he knows how much he was loved. So very sad.”
Another person shared:
Kate Bennett’s tweet reads: “So sad to hear that Roy Horn has died. I was a journalist in Las Vegas for ten years — he and Siegfried were two of my very favorite people. This is one of my favorite photos with them, taken at their Jungle Palace house.”
One person posted:
They wrote: “RIP Roy Horn… Vegas LEGEND.”
4. Siegfried & Roy Were a Magician Duo Known for Their Acts Involving Exotic Animals
The German duo was famous worldwide, especially for their performances from 1990 until 2003 at the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. They initially met on a ship in 1950 and performed together ever since. The two were inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999.
When the show initially started at the Mirage in 1990, Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, said that: “It was probably the most expensive show in the history of the world at the time it was built. Over $30 million in 1990.”
From their debut in 1990 until 2003, the duo headlined 5,750 performances at the Mirage’s 5,000 seat theater, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Siegfried spoke about their performances on the Las Vegas Strip in 2013, saying: “It’s family entertainment. That’s what we started. These are big production shows now, but yeah, we came from nowhere. And when The Mirage became such a success, Steve Wynn knew how important entertainment was, and he knew how important Siegfried & Roy were. The show was sold out every night from the first night to the last.”
5. Roy Was Attacked Onstage During a Performance by Their Tiger Mantecore
The duo is perhaps most famously known for an onstage attack on October 3, 2003. On Roy’s 59th birthday, he was attacked during their performance by their tiger, Mantecore. The attack happened in the middle of the performance and left Roy with a crushed windpipe and a damaged artery that carried blood to his brain. The Hollywood Reporter shared that after that incident, Roy was partially paralyzed and had difficulty walking and talking.
This attack was the end of Roy’s career and the magician duo of Siegfried and Roy. Roy maintained since the attack that the tiger wasn’t being aggressive, but was instead responding to Roy getting dizzy on stage from high blood pressure. He said that the injuries occurred when Mantecore tried to drag him to the paramedics. Mantecore died in 2014 and Roy posted that the tiger had saved his life:
After the attack, when he was still in the hospital, Roy said: “I am very grateful, every day, for every breath I am taking. That is my message to anyone who has had a stroke or a heart attack: Keep moving. Make progress. Pull yourself together, because you can do it.”