Roy Horn Dead, Siegfried & Roy Member Dies From COVID-19 Complications At 75

Roy Horn has died following a COVID-19 diagnosis. Horn is best-known as one-half of the famous Siegfried & Roy magic act. Siegfried Fischbacher and Horn had a magic and entertainment show that involved tigers for many years in Las Vegas.

About a week ago, Horn tested positive for coronavirus. He was admitted to Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas where he died.

"Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, whose collaboration with Siegfried Fischbacher created the world-renowned duo Siegfriend and Roy, died of complications from COVID-19 today in a Las Vegas hospital. Together, Siegfried and 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," a representative for Horn said in a statement on Friday evening.

Horn was 75 years old.

Fischbacher Released A Statement Following Horn's Death

Fischbacher and Horn first met on a cruise and they quickly became friends. They began their magic act and were hired to work on a cruise ship.

"Horn, who had a half-wolf, half-dog named Hexe, was already fascinated by animals. He volunteered to join Fischbacher as an assistant. Before long, the duo were soon working with a rabbit, then a cheetah, building a popular nightclub and theater act," reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It didn't take long for the duo to be discovered. They were offered a gig at a club in Germany before catching their big break. It was Tony Azzie who saw the show and offered them the opportunity of a lifetime in 1967. However, it wasn't until the '80s that the duo made a name for themselves.

They were known to routinely sell out the theater at the Mirage. People would travel from around the globe to see their legendary magic act. Over the years, Fischbacher and Horn became lifelong companions. The closeness of their relationship was evident in the statement that Fischbacher released on Friday evening.

"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 these final days. I gave 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 said in a statement.

Horn Retired In 2010, 7 Years After Being Attacked By A Tiger

Illusionist Roy Horn appears with 6-week-old tiger cubs June 12, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Getty Images | Ethan Miller

Horn was born on October 3, 1944, in Germany and had three brothers, Manfred, Alfred, and Werner. Horn was a known animal lover. From a young age, he was around exotic animals, thanks largely in part to a man named Emil, a friend of the family, who founded the Bremen Zoo.

Of course, this upbringing helped mold him for his future. While Horn had an incredible relationship with the animals he worked with, things came crashing down for him in 2003. At that time, Horn survived an attack by a 7-year-old white tiger named Mantecore.

On October 3 of that year, Siegfried & Roy were performing a show at the Mirage. As part of the act, Horn held a microphone up to Mantecore's mouth for the tiger to "speak" to the audience. Rather than simply roaring, as planned, Mantecore took Horn's arm in his mouth before pinning him to the ground.

Mantecore bit into Horn's throat and dragged him offstage by his neck. Trainers were finally able to get the tiger to release his grip by spraying him with a fire extinguisher. Horn's spine was severed and he suffered major blood loss, among other severe injuries that permanently affected his mobility.

Despite the injuries, he insisted that no harm come to Mantecore, calling him a "great cat" while en route to the hospital. As a result of the attack, the Mirage canceled the Siegfried & Roy show.

Interestingly, Fischbacher and Horn maintained that the tiger had grabbed onto Horn as a way to protect him; he claims that he suffered a stroke. While many do believe that Horn had a stroke, it's unclear exactly when that stroke occurred.

Things didn't end for the magicians, however. Despite Horn's physical limitations, he and Fischbacher were the executive producers of a show called Father of the Pride, which was based on their careers. They also did interviews and made other television appearances, albeit without tigers -- until 2009, that is. The duo appeared on stage with a tiger as a benefit for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. The act was televised on ABC.

On April 23, 2010, Siegfried and Roy retired from show business. They had performed more than 5,700 shows for more than 10.5 million people during their time in Vegas.

"This is farewell. This is the dot at the end of the sentence," said the duo's longtime manager, Bernie Yuman, at the time.