Siegfried Fischbacher is dead. The German-American magician, best known for being part of the magical duo Siegfried and Roy, passed away at the age of 81, according to Bild. Days earlier, it was revealed that the beloved entertainer was terminally ill due to pancreatic cancer, with the Daily Mail reporting that he had recently undergone a 12-hour operation to remove a malignant tumor. Following the operation, Fischbacher reportedly left the clinic and returned to his home in Las Vegas, the Little Bavaria estate, where he was cared for by two hospice workers and died peacefully on Wednesday evening.
His death comes only months after the passing of his longtime partner Roy Horn, who died from complications caused by COVID-19 in May. At the time, Fischbacher gave a touching tribute to his friend and colleague.
“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.”
Siegfried & Roy Became Worldwide Superstars As A Magician Duo
Fischbacher was born on June 13, 1939, in Rosenheim, Germany, per Totally History. He discovered his love of magic at a young age, practicing his first illusions while only a child. When he got older, Fischbacher got a job as a steward on a German cruise ship, the TS Bremen. In 1957, he first met Horn, who was working on the ship as a waiter but had talent as an animal trainer. Fischbacher was eventually able to earn the opportunity to stage magic shows on the cruise, and the magician requested that Horn assist him with his shows on the Bremen, launching a partnership that spanned six decades. While they were shortly fired due to their decision to bring a live cheetah onto the cruise, it was only the beginning for the fledgling superstars.
The duo went on to perform throughout Europe for the next five years, constantly honing their act. They stood out thanks to their unique charisma and ability to include lions and tigers in their act, a rarity at the time. Their big break came following a performance in Monte Carlo where a scout from a Las Vegas casino was in attendance. He was impressed and offered them the opportunity to take their show to the city. They accepted and launched the iconic “Siegfried and Roy” show, which became a massive hit and made them global superstars. They spent the next three decades performing constantly in Vegas and across the world, in the process becoming one of the acts most closely associated with the city.
A Tragic Accident Ended Their Iconic Las Vegas Show
The duo’s reign came to a tragic end on October 3, 2003, when Horn was attacked by Montecore, one of their white tigers, during a performance. The event left Horn with a severed spine and massive blood loss, while he also suffered a stroke either just before or after the interaction with the tiger. While his motor and verbal abilities were permanently impaired as a result, by March 2006 he was able to talk and walk without assistance. In 2009, the duo gave a farewell performance in support of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute before retiring from the entertainment industry on April 23, 2010.
Fischbacher kept his personal life out of the public eye throughout his career, with his only known romantic relationship being with Horn during a period of their business partnership. However, they rarely spoke of their relationship beyond their magic act.