Roy Horn, one-half of German entertainment duo Siegfried & Roy, has contracted the coronavirus.
“We can confirm that Roy Horn has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and is currently responding well to treatment,” the 75-year-old’s publicist said in a statement to ABC News on Tuesday. “Most importantly, Siegfried & Roy send positive wishes to everyone impacted by the pandemic. We will have no further comment on Roy’s recovery at this time and ask everyone to respect his right to privacy.”
Beginning in 1990, Horn, along with Siegfried Fischbacher, performed an extravagant show at The Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, featuring magic tricks and stunts involving big cats.
In 2003, their residency came to an end when Mantecore (occasionally spelled by outlets as “Montecore”), a 400-pound white Bengal tiger, attacked Horn during a performance, and ultimately dragged him offstage by the neck.
Though Horn survived, the mauling left him partially paralyzed after he suffered a significant amount of blood loss and a stroke.
Ten years after the incident, Horn told Las Vegas Weekly in 2013 that the tiger “never attacked” him but rather tried to help him after he lost consciousness onstage.
“I had high blood pressure at that time, and because of the energy level of the show, I got excited and passed out onstage and fell, unfortunately,” he recalled of the October 3, 2003 performance.
As to what he remembers, Horn said, “[Mantecore] looked at me with his big blue eyes and was confused, and so he picked me up by the neck. He brought me to the side so he could attend to me.”
“But we need to rectify — he never attacked me. If a tiger attacks you, you are finished,” he added.
When Mantecore passed away in March 2014, Roy posted a tribute to the feline on the duo’s Facebook page, calling the cat his “lifesaver.”
“Mantecore left us and is now with his siblings in White Tiger heaven,” Horn wrote at the time. “My lifesaver, Mantecore, who was the one responsible for pulling me to safety where the paramedics could help me after my high blood pressure made me dizzy on stage. He is greatly missed, however, I have my memories and I know that now he is playing with his brother and sister.”
In March 2009, Siegfried & Roy reunited to perform a benefit show where they raised $14 million for the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.