Tiger King star and zookeeper Erik Cowie dies aged 53

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

Tiger King star Erik Cowie, who found fame in the hit Netflix series last year, was found dead in a Brooklyn apartment on Friday evening.

According to Daily Mail, NYPD was alerted to the address after receiving a 911 call about an unconscious male inside an apartment.

Tiger King star Erik Cowie
Tiger King star Erik Cowie, who found fame in the hit Netflix series last year, was found dead in a Brooklyn apartment on Friday evening. Photo: Netflix

The 53-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. A cause of death has yet to be determined, however, it is believed it was most likely from "natural causes". 

A source in law enforcement told TMZ that Cowie, who lived in Oklahoma, was in New York visiting a female friend. The Netflix star was staying at her apartment, where she found him dead.

"Our sources say there's nothing suspicious about the death at this point, and no drugs were found on the scene, though a toxicology test will likely still be performed," the website shared.

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The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park announced the news on Tuesday, writing on Facebook, "It comes with great sadness to say that a dear friend and hard-working employee has passed away. 

"Erik Cowie dedicated every waking moment caring for the animals at GWEAP & Tiger King Park. After the animals were ripped away by the Department of Justice, he sadly couldn’t take it anymore."

They added, "He absolutely loved all the animals and would show up early to check on each and everyone. He had his Demons but the animals helped bring joy and happiness in his life."

Joe Exotic AKA Tiger King
Erik testified against Tiger King's Joe Exotic, claiming he'd seen Joe order some of the animals to be shot and killed, contributing to Joe's sentencing of 22 years in prison. Photo: Netflix

One follower wrote, "That is heartbreaking! He was my guide 2yrs ago in my VIP tour. He was informative, a delight to be around, and genuinely loved those animals."

"We enjoyed meeting him and watching him feed the liger raw chicken! So sad that he’s gone too soon!" another said.

"So sad. He didn’t look good in the last show. He loved those animals and they loved him. He gave 110% to that place. May he RIP," someone else wrote.

Cowie had run into some legal trouble, according to TMZ, with the Tiger King star getting busted for a DUI in Oklahoma following a car accident. He pleaded guilty and was supposed to be sentenced soon after, however, he never showed up to court and an arrest warrant was issued.

The zookeeper also testified against Joe Exotic, former owner of The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, claiming he'd seen Joe order some of the animals to be shot and killed, contributing to Joe's sentencing of 22 years in prison.

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