Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher with their white lion by Carol M. Highsmith. This image was taken of Siegfried & Roy and their white lion in their private apartment in Las Vegas. / PD
Siegfried Fischbacher, one half of the long-running Las Vegas magic act Siegfried and Roy, which featured live big cats such as lions, cheetahs, and, famously, two white tigers has died of pancreatic cancer at age 81, just eight months after his partner in magic Roy Horn died of complications related to COVID-19.
Newsweek reports: “A malignant tumor was initially removed from Fischbacher in a 12-hour operation but it was found to have already spread in his body. Fischbacher was released from the hospital at his own request and returned to his Las Vegas home where he was cared for by two nurses before his death.”
Said Fischbacher about Roy Horn’s death back in May: “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 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.”
NBC News Los Angeles added: “The pair gained international recognition for helping to save rare white tigers and white lions from extinction. Their $10 million compound was home to dozens of rare animals over the years. The white lions and white tigers were the result of a preservation program that began in the 1980s. ‘The good news is that the white tigers and white lions are going into the 21st century,’ Horn said in a 1999 interview with The Associated Press. ‘The bad news is that if we don’t do something about the tigers in the wild, they will disappear.’ Siegfried & Roy’s show, incorporating animal antics and magic tricks, included about 20 white tigers and lions, the number varying depending on the night. The show also had other exotic animals, including an elephant.”