Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy, the duo whose extraordinary magic tricks astonished millions until Horn was critically injured in 2003 by one of the act’s famed white tigers, has died. He was 75.
Horn died of complications from the coronavirus on Friday in a Las Vegas hospital, according to a statement released by publicist Dave Kirvin.
“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Siegfried Fischbacher said in the statement. “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.”
The darker-haired of the flashy duo, Horn was credited with the idea of introducing an exotic animal — his pet cheetah — to the magic act.
“Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days,” Fischbacher said. “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 two became an institution in Las Vegas, where their magic and artistry consistently attracted sellout crowds. The pair performed six shows a week, 44 weeks per year.
They returned to the stage in February 2009 for what was billed as their one and only comeback performance, to raise funds for the new Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. The brief performance, which included Montecore, became the basis of an episode of the ABC television show “20/20.”
Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher, both natives of Germany, had first teamed up in 1957 and made their Las Vegas debut a decade later. Siegfried & Roy began performing at the Mirage in 1990.
When Horn and Fischbacher became U.S. citizens in 1988, an elated Horn said, “Being an American means all the things we believe in.”
Horn once hand-fed a white lion cub born prematurely, starting with an eyedropper. But when a cub was donated to a zoo, Horn said he was heartbroken.
“When you love something, the hardest thing is to let it go,” he said. “But this is what Siegfried and Roy do. We live our dreams, and we fulfill our destiny.”
Funeral services will be private, with an expected public memorial.