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Magician Roy Horn dies after catching coronavirus

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy HornImage copyright FilmMagic
Image caption Roy Horn (right) and his partner Siegfried Fischbacher hosted one of the longest-running shows in Las Vegas

Roy Horn, a member of the long-running magic duo Siegfried and Roy, has died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus.

Horn and his German compatriot, Siegfried Fischbacher, were known for including including whiter tigers and other animals in their act.

They began performing in Las Vegas in 1967, and hosted sell-out shows at the city’s Mirage Hotel for 14 years.

Horn was forced to stop performing in 2003 after a white tiger attacked him during one of their shows.

“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Mr Fischbacher said in a statement. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world.”

The German-born pair met while working on a cruise ship – Horn as a steward and Siegfried as a magical performer. They were reportedly fired for bringing a live cheetah onto the ship, but soon afterwards they began performing together for another cruise liner based in New York.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption White tigers and other big cats were used in their performances

The duo’s act then moved to the European nightclub circuit before they were invited to perform in Las Vegas.

Siegfried and Roy became an institution, breaking records for the longest-running act in the city. Their shows combined with magic tricks with circus thrills, with performances featuring dozens of rare white lions and tigers.

In 1989 their act moved to the Mirage Hotel – then the largest theatre in the city. The Mirage continues to host an animal attraction known as the Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy.

Horn was severely injured after one of their tigers bit him on the neck and carried him offstage during a performance. He also suffered a stroke.

The incident permanently affected his mobility and speech, but Horn was able to take part in some events before the duo retired in 2010.

“Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days,” said Mr Fischbacher. “I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital [in Las Vegas] who worked heroically against this insidious virus.”

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