Siegfried & Roy’s white tiger, Mantecore, who injured Roy Horn during a live performance in Las Vegas a little more than a decade ago, has died aged 17.
The Las Vegas-based magicians, famous for incorporating white tigers into their illusion-packed stage show, announced the news Tuesday through a Facebook post.
"I feel like a part of me is gone," Horn said in a statement, who had nursed the white tiger cub from birth. "Farewell my dear friend … know that your image is forever burned into my heart."
He added: "I will forever believe it was his concern for my safety and well-being that caused him to act as he did on that night long ago. We spent many hours together and he never failed to bring me great joy and wonderment. It was my great honor to be beside him at the end. He is now playing with his siblings in White Tiger heaven.”
Horn, 69, and partner Siegfried Fischbacher, 74, have said that Mantecore had sensed that Horn was having a mild stroke and was trying to drag him to safety, rather than attack him, during a show in 2003 at the MGM Mirage. According to reports, Horn’s injuries left him partially paralyzed forcing the cancellation of the popular Siegfried & Roy shows.
Horn revealed in his Facebook page post that he too had saved the tiger's life once, when he was a newborn cub, unable to survive as his mother could not care for him.
“My mouth-to-mouth resuscitation brought him back – I saved his life and then he saved mine, so we were even. His contribution to the avalanche of awareness of Conservation and Preservation as well as countless appearances in our Show, Television and Movies makes him unforgettable.”
Mantecore had been living at the Siegfried & Roy Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage hotel in Vegas and, according to reports, 11 white tigers, two white lions, two black leopards and six spotted leopards survive Mantecore at the Mirage habitat.