Roy Horn, one-half of the famed lion-taming duo and longtime Las Vegas staple Siegfried & Roy, died Friday from complications related to COVID-19. He was 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. “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.”
Siegfried continued, “Roy as 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 German duo are credited with helping to usher in “the modern era for Las Vegas entertainment” with their long-running stage show that combined magic — both Fischbacher and Horn started out as magicians — and the duo’s love of lions and endangered animals.
After initially meeting when they were entertainers on a cruise ship in 1957 and spending years performing at nightclubs in Europe, the duo moved to Las Vegas in the late-Sixties. Siegfried & Roy eventually settled at the Strip’s Mirage, where they performed from 1990 until 2003, when their white tiger Mantacore mauled Horn during a show and dragged him offstage. As a result of the incident, Horn lost mobility in the left side of his body, and Siegfried & Roy stopped performing.
A year later, Horn defended the tiger, telling People that he suffered a stroke mid-performance. “Mantacore saved my life,” Horn said. “He instinctively saw that I needed help, and he helped me.” Horn would spend the rest of his life rehabilitating from his injuries, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Prior to Horn’s attack, the duo appeared in films like Vegas Vacation and the 2001 Ocean’s 11 remake, as well as TV specials centered on their theatrical stage shows.
On April 28th, the duo’s publicist revealed that Horn had tested positive to the coronavirus and that he was responding well to treatment. “Most importantly, Siegfried & Roy send positive wishes to everyone impacted by the pandemic,” they added.
Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy passed away due to complications from #COVID19, publicist says.
He was 75. pic.twitter.com/DqVyK6O3JN
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) May 9, 2020