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Siegfried Fischbacher of famed magic act Siegfried & Roy dies of pancreatic cancer at 81

Siegfried Fischbacher died Wednesday night at his Las Vegas home from pancreatic cancer eight months after the death of his business partner, Roy Horn.
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Siegfried Fischbacher, half of the world famous Las Vegas magic and entertainment act Siegfried & Roy, died of cancer Wednesday, eight months after the death of his longtime business partner, Roy Horn. Fischbacher was 81.

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

Because of the pandemic, she said, she couldn't visit her brother for the holiday season, but she had kept in touch and was on the phone with him for about 30 minutes before he died.

"He was only able to say 'OK'," said Dolore Fischbacher, 78. "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.
Las Vegas illusionists Siegfried Fischbacher, right, and Roy Horn 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 ended their long-running production. Horn died in May of Covid-19 complications at 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 Horn, then 60, partly 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 Fischbacher was a magician, according to a statement from the act's publicity firm. Horn helped Fischbacher with his act, and the rest was history.

IMAGE: Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas
Siegfried Fischbacher, left, and Roy Horn in 1981.Horst Ossinger / dpa via Getty Images file

They hit the Vegas strip in 1967 and, in 1989 they 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 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."