Siegfried & Roy -vs The Tiger
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Roy Horn Of 'Siegfried Roy' Still Critical After Tiger Attack
LAS VEGAS Illusionist Roy Horn of "Siegfried & Roy" fame was hospitalized in critical condition on a ventilator Sunday, two days after a tiger attacked him during a sold-out performance, authorities said.
Horn suffered a serious injury to the left side of his neck and underwent surgery late Friday at University Medical Center.
Horn was heavily medicated but able to respond to voices and touch, said MGM Mirage Resort CEO Bobby Baldwin.
"We are guarded, optimistic," Baldwin said. "We are pleased the news isn't worst than it is."
Hospital officials would not provide any more information, but the mood was somber among the host of Las Vegas notables who went to see the magician.
"I'm pretty much on a vigil," said Bernie Yuman, the duo's longtime manager.
Fellow magician Penn Jillette, one of many celebrities outside Horn's hospital room Saturday, said he understood that Horn was on life support but did not elaborate.
"The overwhelming likelihood is that we'll have to wait two or three days before we really understand the full extent of these injuries," MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said Saturday.
Feldman said late Saturday the show was "closed indefinitely." He said 267 show employees met at the Mirage hotel-casino earlier in the day, where hotel managers encouraged them to find new jobs.
Horn, along with longtime partner Siegfried Fischbacher, have been a staple on the Las Vegas Strip for years, performing their magic show to sold-out crowds at The Mirage since 1990.
"For more than four decades, I have had the great privilege of standing at the side of this remarkable man, and I will continue to do so during this very challenging time," Fischbacher said in a statement Saturday. "We are grateful and overwhelmed with the tremendous support we have received from around the world, and ask for your continued prayers and reflection."
It was halfway during a Friday night performance that Horn appeared alone on stage with the tiger and told the crowd the animal was making its debut in the show, a claim hotel officials said was part of the act.
Horn told the tiger, a 7 year-old male named Montecore, to lie down. When he refused, Horn tapped the cat on the nose with a microphone to get its attention. The animal grabbed at Horn's arm, causing the entertainer to stumble.
The tiger, which weighs about 600 pounds, then lunged at Horn, who tried to beat the animal off with a microphone.
"I knew he was in trouble right away. I was horrified," said Diane Weightman, of Higley, Ariz. "I wanted to jump on stage and help him. I didn't know what to do."
Andy Cushman, a 23 year-old reporter from New Jersey, said Horn "looked like a rag doll" as the tiger dragged him off the stage.
Feldman said stage crew members used fire extinguishers to distract the tiger and get it off Horn.
After the attack, Fischbacher appeared on stage and told the 1,500 audience members the performance was canceled, Cushman said.
"God bless Roy," Fischbacher said.
"Siegfried is very strong willed and has unconditional faith," Yuman said Saturday. "He's doing as well as can be expected."
Hotel officials said the show has been canceled indefinitely. Montecore was quarantined at the hotel, officials said.
Horn, who turned 59 on Friday, had never been injured during a show before, "not a scratch, not by an animal," Yuman said.
The illusionists, who put on one of the most well-known and expensive Las Vegas shows with their signature white tigers and lions, signed a lifetime contract with The Mirage in 2001.
Many of Las Vegas' elite arrived at the hospital Saturday, including casino developer Steve Wynn and his wife.
Terry Lanni, chairman of MGM Mirage, issued a statement Saturday, praising the duo's contribution to Las Vegas.
"Throughout the history of Las Vegas, no artists have meant more to the development of Las Vegas' global reputation as the entertainment capital of the world than Siegfried and Roy," Lanni said. "They are so much more than the stars of The Mirage, they are the very heart of our resort."
Magician Lance Burton, who performs at the Monte Carlo hotel-casino, called the pair "the poster boys of Las Vegas."
"They're royalty," said Frankie Scinta, a performer at the Rio hotel-casino who rushed to the hospital upon hearing of Friday's attack.
The German-born pair perform six shows a week, 44 weeks per year and have been onstage in Las Vegas for more than 35 years.