Siegfried Fischbacher, one half of the celebrated magic double act Siegfried & Roy, has died from pancreatic cancer in Las Vegas at the age of 81.
Best known for their appearances with white lions and tigers, Siegfried & Roy were among the biggest names in the world of magic and had performed an estimated 5,000 shows for 10 million fans since 1990.
Fischbacher reportedly had a malignant tumour removed during an operation, but sadly the cancer had already spread throughout his body. The star returned to his home in Las Vegas where he was cared for by nurses before his death.
Siegfried’s sister Dolore confirmed the news to Das Bild, saying that his passing came as a relief as he could barely speak towards the end. “He fell asleep gently and peacefully,” she added.
His death comes just a few months after the passing of his beloved partner Roy Horn, who died from complications of COVID-19 at the age of 75 in May 2020.
In a statement announcing Horn’s death, Siegfried Fischbacher said, “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.”
He later told Bild am Sonntag that his best friend would always stay by his side. “For dinner, I will continue to have the table set for him, too. Like it always was the case. I’m not alone,” he said.
Fischbacher had a passion for magic from a young age. He moved from Germany to Italy, initially working in a hotel before performing on a cruise ship, where he met Horn. Here the pair began a partnership that eventually became legend.
They moved their act from cruise ships to the nightclub circuit in Europe, where they would receive a life-changing rave review from Princess Grace of Monaco, better known as Grace Kelly.
Soon after, their Beyond Belief show moved to Las Vegas in 1981 and took up residence at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. Using magic and exotic animals combined with glittering costumes and feathery accessories, the show was so successful and popular that it went on a world tour seven years later.
Their stunning routines mesmerised audiences – including Joe Exotic, the subject of Netflix’s Tiger King series, who reportedly was inspired by their white tigers.
Tributes are now pouring in from their colleagues and contemporaries in the world of magic.
“Our heart is broken,” said the magical duo The Ehrlich Brothers, speaking to Das Bild. “Dear Siegfried Fischbacher, on Wednesday we gave you courage and told you everything that was important to us. Today everything is different. From today you will live on in our hearts.
“The life of you and Roy made you the heroes of our childhood. Not only for us, but for countless people all over the world, you have been and will remain a great inspiration. We will miss you sorely, but every time we look at the evening sky we will see how you live on as stars.”
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