Siegfried Fischbacher, surviving member of the magician duo Siegfried & Roy, dies in Las Vegas aged 81

<p>llusionists Siegfried Fischbacher, left and Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn pose for photographers with a white tiger cub </p> (AP)

llusionists Siegfried Fischbacher, left and Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn pose for photographers with a white tiger cub


Illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher, the surviving member of the duo Siegfried & Roy, has died in Las Vegas age 81, according to reports.

Mr Fischbacher's sister, a nun who lives in Munich, confirmed his death from cancer, the German news agency dpa said on Thursday.

Sister Dolore told dpa: "He was at home in Las Vegas."

She said she had talked to her brother on the phone before he died and that they had prayed together.

"I could pray with him and tell him that I will always be with him in my heart," she said.

After the call, she said he lay down and fell asleep.

Mr Fischbacher's long-time showbusiness partner, Roy Horn, died last year of complications from Covid-19 at a Las Vegas hospital. He was 75.

The duo astonished millions with their extraordinary magic tricks until Mr Horn was critically injured in 2003 by one of the act's famed white tigers.

In a statement announcing Mr Horn's death in May, Mr 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 Germany's weekly Bild am Sonntag newspaper 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," dpa quoted Mr Fischbacher as saying.

For years, Siegfried & Roy was an institution in Las Vegas, where Mr Fischbacher and Mr Horn's magic and artistry consistently attracted sellout crowds. The pair performed six shows a week, 44 weeks a year.

Mr Horn and Mr Fischbacher, both from Germany, first teamed up in 1957 and made their Las Vegas debut a decade later. Siegfried & Roy began performing at the Mirage in 1990.

The pair gained international recognition for helping to save rare white tigers and white lions from extinction.

Their 10 million US dollar compound was home to dozens of rare animals over the years. The white lions and white tigers were the result of a preservation programme that began in the 1980s.

The Siegfried & Roy show incorporated animal antics and magic tricks, featuring 20 white tigers and lions, the number varying depending on the night. The show also had other exotic animals, including an elephant.

Speaking after the 2003 attack that injured Mr Horn, Terry Lanni, chairman of MGM Mirage, the casino's parent company, said: "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."

Reporting by AP