LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Roy Horn, one half of the legendary Siegfried & Roy duo, died Friday due to complications from COVID-19. He was 75.
Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn and his collaborative partner Siegfried Fischbacher became world-renowned for their use of white lions and tigers during live magic shows, ushering in a new era of Law Vegas entertainment.
“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Siegfried said. “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.”
Roy was born on October 3, 1944 in Germany. At an early age, he developed an affinity to animals, adopting both his wolfdog, Hexe, and cheetah, Chico, from the Bremen Zoo.
While working as a steward on a cruise ship, Roy met Siegfried and assisted him during his magic act. Their decades-long collaboration began when Roy asked: “Siegfried, disappearing rabbits are ordinary, but can you make a cheetah disappear?”
Siegfried & Roy’s magic act took them around the globe, from Japan to Radio City Music Hall to a four-decade run in Las Vegas. During their 14 years at The Mirage, they sold out the then-largest theater in Las Vegas history nightly.
On October 3, 2003, Roy’s performance career ended when one of his white tigers dragged him off stage. Roy had since said he believed the animal was reacting to his owner having a stroke.
Roy often referred to the tiger, named Mantecore, as his “lifesaver.”
“Roy’s whole life was about defying the odds,” added Siegfried. “He grew up with very little and became famous throughout the world for his showmanship, flair and his life-long commitment to animal conservation. He had a strength and will unlike anyone I have ever known.”
Roy is preceded in death by his mother Johanna Horn and half-brother Alfred Fink. He is survived by his brother Werner Horn, his animal family and, of course, Siegfried.
Funeral services will be private with plans for a public memorial in the future.
His friends and family have asked for donations in his memory to be make to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health or to the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force.