Siegfried Fischbacher, who was part of the famed Las Vegas Siegfried & Roy tiger act duo with Roy Horn, has died at the age of 81.
The news of his death came from the German newspaper Bild on January 14, which reported that Siegfried’s sister said he “fell asleep gently and peacefully” at a Las Vegas hospital.
What was the cause of death of Siegfried? Pancreatic cancer, which Bild reported he was dying from a couple days before his death.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote when Roy died: ”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.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Siegfried’s Sister Was Praying With Him as He Died
According to Bild, Fischbacher’s sister Dolore, a nun in Munich, Germany, “was still praying for him over the phone half an hour before Siegfried died.”
She said he couldn’t speak properly, but he was able to say “okay,” at the end of her prayers. Bild wrote: “According to Dolore, these prayers gave him the courage to let go.”
Bild had reported a few days before that Fischbacher was terminally ill, writing, “Great concern for Siegfried Fischbacher (81, ‘Siegfried & Roy’). The star magician prepares to die. Nine months after the death of his partner Roy Horn, Fischbacher is terminally ill.”
Bild spoke to his sister Dolore at that time. She said, “I take my brother with me in every one of my prayers and I am deeply connected to him.”
Roy Died in May 2020 of Complications of Coronavirus
The other member of the famous Las Vegas duo, Roy Horn, died in May 2020 after contracting the novel coronavirus. When Horn died, Fischbacher said in a 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 press release 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, Horn’s 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.
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.
When Horn died, Fischbacher said: “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.”
Fischbacher 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 Pair Launched Their Vegas Act at the Mirage After Meeting on a Cruise Ship
Siegfried & Roy launched their white lion and tiger act in 1990 at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The show was ended forever by Horn’s injuries from the tiger mauling, which left him partially paralyzed.
According to the Review-Journal, the duo 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 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, Horn 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?’”
Fischbacher paused and responded, “In magic, anything is possible.” Horn 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.
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