14/01/2021 14:53 GMT

Siegfried Fischbacher, Of Las Vegas Magician Duo Siegfried & Roy, Dies Aged 81

The illusionist was best known for elaborate performances involving animals.

Siegfried Fischbacher – the world famous illusionist and one half of the duo Siegfried and Roy – has died at the age of 81.

His sister Dolore confirmed to the German newspaper Bild that Siegfried died at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dolore, who lives as a nun in Munich, said her brother had fallen “asleep softly and peacefully”.

Newsweek has reported that Siegfried recently underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumour, but it was then discovered that his cancer had spread to other parts of his body.

After this, he left hospital at his own request, and returned to his home in Vegas, where he was cared for by nurses.

Paul Archuleta via Getty Images
Siegfried Fischbacher in 2013

Siegfried’s death comes eight months after he lost his professional partner and fellow magician Roy Horn, due to complications from Covid-19.

In a statement given at the time, Siegfried said: “Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend.

“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.

“Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days. I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy’s life.”

Peter Bischoff via Getty Images
Siegfried & Roy during their residency at The Mirage in Las Vegas

Siegfried and Roy met while they were both working on cruise ships, and began working professionally together in 1967.

They were renowned for their elaborate illusions, which often involved tigers, and launched their popular Las Vegas show at the Mirage in 1990.

However, the act eventually unravelled in October 2003 when a tiger named Mantecore mauled Roy during a live performance.

The attack severed his spine, caused severe blood loss and inflicted several critical injuries, permanently affecting his ability to move, walk and speak.

Photo gallery RIP: Celebrities We Lost In 2021 See Gallery