Roy Horn, best known as half of the legendary Siegfried & Roy magic and animal act in Las Vegas, died May 8 from complications due to coronavirus. 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 Friday. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried and Roy without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried.”
“Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days,” Fischbacher went on. “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-born Horn’s love of animals began at an early age, leading to the adoption of a pet cheetah affectionately named Chico from the Bremen Zoo. A handful of years later, he was working as a steward on a cruise ship when he met Fischbacher, who was performing his magic act onboard.
Horn stepped in to assist, and afterward said, “Disappearing rabbits are ordinary, but can you make a cheetah disappear?” Little did the ship’s captain know, but Horn smuggled Chico on the ship. And Siegfried & Roy was born.
After 50 years of performing together, Siegfried & Roy ended their run when Horn was attacked by a white tiger during a 2003 show at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The animal bit into Horn’s neck and carried him offstage.
The attack severed Horn’s spine and permanently affected his ability to walk and speak.