Roy Horn of illusionist duo Siegfried and Roy dies of COVID-19 at age 75

By Zach Harper

Roy Horn, known for his work as one half of popular illusionist duo Siegfried and Roy, has died of complications from COVID-19.

Earlier this year, it was revealed the performer had contracted the novel coronavirus and was "responding well to treatment." But he passed away on May 8, his publicist has told media outlets.

"Today, the world has lost one of the greatest of magic, but I have lost my best friend," his stage partner 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.

Photo: © Siegfried & Roy/The Mirage Resort via Getty Images

"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."

Roy and Siegfried began performing together in Europe in 1957 before they made the transition to the stage in Las Vegas in the 1960s. To say they were a hit would be an understatement – they always sold out, and by 2001, they had performed 5,000 shows at the Mirage casino for 10 million fans since 1990, according to the Associated Press.

Sadly, Roy's career as an illusionist ended in 2003, when he was attacked onstage by a tiger named Montecore. The incident happened on his 59th birthday. Roy suffered a stroke due to injuries he sustained when he was mauled. He did not perform again, except for one show in 2009. Montecore was included during that gig.

Roy gives a white tiger cub a kiss in 2008. Photo: © Denise Truscello/WireImage

Not only are the duo known for their jaw-dropping magic tricks, but Roy, along with Siegfried, was passionate about conservation. In the 1980s, they began a program to try to save white tigers and white lions from extinction.

Roy is expected to have a public memorial, but his funeral will be private. Details on the memorial will be announced at a later date.

Don't miss a beat with HELLO! Canada's Daily Hits newsletter, your daily dose of royal and celebrity news, fashion, weddings and more. CLICK HERE to sign up for free!