• Sat. Jan 23rd, 2021

Siegfried Fischbacher, of Siegfried & Roy, dies of cancer at 81

Siegfried Fischbacher, half of the world-famous Las Vegas magic and entertainment act Siegfried & Roy, died of cancer eight months after the death of his long-term business partner, Roy Horn. Fischbacher was 81.

His sister Dolore Fischbacher, a nun in Munich, Germany, told NBC News Thursday that Fischbacher died Wednesday evening at his home in Las Vegas from terminal pancreatic cancer.

Due to the pandemic, Dolore said she couldn’t visit him for the holiday season, but had kept in touch and was on the phone with the renowned illusionist for about 30 minutes before he passed.

“He was only able to say ‘okay’,” Dolore, 78, said. “It was kind of like an Amen.”

“He is not dead, he will live on in my heart,” she said.

Las Vegas illusionists Siegfried, right, and Roy in 2011.Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Siegfried & Roy, known for their work with big cats, put on Las Vegas shows for decades — until Horn was in a near-fatal accident that put a stop to their long-running production. Horn died in May of Covid-19 complications at age 75.

In 2003, a 380-pound tiger, Mantecore, bit Horn’s neck and dragged him off the stage during a show at the Mirage Las Vegas. The attack crushed his windpipe and left the then-60-year-old partially paralyzed.

Fischbacher was born in Rosenheim, Germany, where he developed an early penchant for the art of magic.

He and Horn met more than 60 years ago on a cruise ship, where Horn was a steward and Siegfried was a magician, according to a statement from the act’s publicity firm. Horn helped Siegfried with his act, and the rest was history.

Siegfried, left, and Roy in 1981.Horst Ossinger / dpa via Getty Images file

They hit the Vegas strip in 1967 and, in 1989 started a 14-year run at the Mirage that transformed the duo into a singular tourism draw. Their $30 million production at the hotel sold out nightly, according to the statement.

The pair used a collection of animals onstage that included white tigers, white lions, leopards, jaguars and an elephant.

On Horn’s death, Fischbacher shared a few parting words: “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.”

Dennis Romero contributed.