Mantecore, the white tiger that seriously hurt Las Vegas perfomer Roy Horn in 2003, has died at age 17.
The tiger passed away March 19 from an illness, Roy wrote on the Siegfried & Roy Facebook page.
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"He is greatly missed," Horn wrote. "I have my memories and I know that now he is playing with his brother and sister."
A white tiger lives 15 to 26 years in captivity, The Associated Press reported, citing the San Diego Zoo
. Mantecore had been living at the Siegfried & Roy Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage hotel.
Horn, 69, was injured during an October 2003 performance at the Mirage hotel-casino, when the 380-pound tiger lunged at his neck. By the time emergency officials reached Horn, he was in critical condition. He was partially paralyzed after the attack, and the long-running Siegfried & Roy show closed permanently.
Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher, 74, believe Mantecore sensed Horn was having a mini-stroke and was trying to bring him to safety, not intentionally hurt him.
"My lifesaver, 'Mantecore,' who was the one responsible for pulling me to safety where the Paramedics could help me after my high blood pressure made me dizzy on stage," Horn wrote on Facebook.
Animal experts have disputed Horn's theory. After a two-year review, federal investigators never determined what set off the tiger, according to the Associated Press.
"I will forever believe it was his concern for my safety and well-being that caused him to act as he did on that night long ago. We spent many hours together and he never failed to bring me great joy and wonderment. It was my great honor to be beside him at the end," he added.
"The flags at Little Bavaria are flying at half-mast — thank you everybody for listening — do not feel sad, I have wonderful memories. Farewell my dear friend...know that your image is forever burned into my heart," Horn wrote in his Facebook farewell.
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