Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, known to the world as one-half of famous Las Vegas illusionist duo Siegfried & Roy, died Friday at the age of 75, due to complications from the coronavirus, in a Las Vegas hospital. “Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” his long-time collaborator Siegfried Fischbacher said in a 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. Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days. 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.”
After meeting on a cruise ship, Horn, then a cheetah-owning ship’s steward, and Fischbacher the cruise’s magician, the pair began their rise to Vegas fame in 1967, eventually landing a fourteen year-run at the Mirage in 1989, their show a wildly popular mix of music, magic, and exotic-animal stunts that made them stars. On October 3, 2003, Horn was grabbed during a show and dragged off the stage by one of the show’s big cats, a white tiger named Mantacore, an attack Horn steadfastly alleged was a response to his having a stroke, though handler Chris Lawrence later publicly disputed the claim. Though the show subsequently closed, Horn survived his injuries, and devoted the rest of his life to philanthropic endeavors.