Michael Jackson's 13-year-old Bengal tiger, Thriller, has died of lung cancer, says actress Tippi Hedren, who runs a wildlife preserve where the tiger has been housed after Jackson's death three years ago.
Thriller, named for the entertainer's record-breaking album, lived with Jackson at his Neverland Ranch until 2006. Giraffes, flamingos, orangutans, elephants and other animals also lived on the ranch.
Thriller was moved to Hedren's Shambala Preserve in Acton Calif., in the desert north of Los Angeles, when Jackson left Neverland.
Hedren, 82, shot to fame in 1963 in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith.
The 13-year-old female tiger, which weighed 375 pounds, died June 11, although Hedren made the announcement Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Lung cancer is suspected to be the cause of death, although results of Thriller's autopsy were not yet released.
Thriller had a twin brother, Sabu, who is still alive and well at the preserve.
Thriller was a real piece of work, one gutsy girl. She ruled Sabu's life. It was humorous to watch the whole relationship, Hedren told the AP. She did things to him that male tigers would normally never allow. She would steal food from him. That's unheard of. She ruled the roost, was very independent and tough.
Hedren called Thriller the queen of the preserve.
We were fascinated by her dominance, she said.
Hedren told the Los Angeles Times that Jackson did not ask her about his tigers' well-being or offer financial assistance with their upkeep.
It always amazed me that Michael never called to see how they were and never made any provisions for them financially, she told the paper. It would have been very helpful to have had some sort of financial donation.
The announcement of Thriller's death came two days after the third anniversary of Jackson's passing at age 50.
The talented but troubled entertainer died June 25, 2009, of cardiac arrest caused by a combination of the anesthetic propofol and sedatives administer by his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.
Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death.