By Sun Staff (contact)
Published Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 4:47 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 8:25 p.m.
Montecore, the white tiger that seriously injured Las Vegas headliner Roy Horn during a 2003 performance, has died, according to a post on Siegfried & Roy’s Facebook page.
Horn was hauled off the stage during an Oct. 3, 2003, show at Mirage in the mouth of the tiger – referred to in today’s Facebook post as “Mantecore.” En route to the hospital that night, Horn was said to have pleaded that no harm come to the cat.
“It is with great sorrow that I am writing you this note today that on March 19, 2014, in the early afternoon our beloved 17-year-old White Tiger Friend and Brother, ‘Mantecore’ left us and is now with his siblings in White Tiger heaven,” the post signed by Horn reads.
The average lifespan for such a tiger in captivity is 15 to 26 years, according to the San Diego Zoo’s website.
Horn suffered a crushed windpipe and was left partially paralyzed with damaged neck arteries in the attack, which led to the closing of Siegfried & Roy’s wildly successful Strip show. Doctors said Horn also suffered two strokes undergoing surgery in the aftermath of the incident.
Horn never blamed the cat – today he called Montecore his “lifesaver … the one responsible for pulling me to safety where the paramedics could help me after my high blood pressure made me dizzy on stage.”
After a two-year review, federal investigators never determined what set off the tiger.
Montecore died at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden habitat at the Mirage, where 11 more white tigers and two white lions, among other animals, reside.
Horn, 69, and partner Siegfried Fischbacher, 74 — with Montecore — returned to the stage in 2009 during the “Power of Love” gala for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.