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Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, one half of the legendary performing duo Siegfried & Roy, died on Friday in a Las Vegas hospital from complications of COVID-19. 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 released to ET. "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."
"Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days. I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy's life," he concluded.
Born October 3, 1944, in Germany, Roy became interested in animals at a very young age. He met Siegfried when he was working as a steward on a cruise ship, and the pair began performing together in as a featured act in notable Las Vegas revues “Follies Bergère," "Hallelujah Hollywood" and "Lido de Paris." In 1981, they headlined "Beyond Belief" at the New Frontier, before becoming a hit and having 14-year run at The Mirage that began in 1989.
However, in October 2003, Roy was attacked by a white tiger named Mantecore during a performance. He was dragged offstage by the neck and while trainers were able to free him, he suffered a stroke, severed spine and massive blood loss. The accident caused him to go into a five-year rehabilitation and the pair shut down their Siegfried & Roy Las Vegas show.
In 2013, 10 years after his attack, ET shared exclusive photos of Roy feeding Mantecore. Despite the uncharacteristic incident, the performer demanded that no harm come to Mantecore, and spent years with the white tiger during his recovery until Mantecore's passing in 2014.
In 2014, Siegfried and Roy welcomed ET into their Las Vegas home, 11 years after the tiger attack that left Roy partially paralyzed.
"I got a stroke and I fell down, and I see these blue eyes staring looking at me," Roy told ET at the time. "I was like, 'What now? What happened?' He picked me up by the neck and got me to the side so he'd know I'd be safe -- like a mother with a cub. He took care of me."
Last year, the pair -- who officially announced their retirement in 2010 -- were featured in the ABC special Siegfried & Roy: Behind the Magic.
"All these years together, and what we achieved," Siegfried said of recalling what Roy meant to him following his attack, "I said, 'I thank you very much,' and I think I said, 'I love you.'"