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Erik Cowie ‘dead’ at 53: Tiger King zookeeper who worked for Joe Exotic ‘found face down’ months after drink drive bust

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A TIGER King star who worked for Joe Exotic as a zookeeper has reportedly died aged 53.

Erik Cowie was discovered useless mendacity face down in a mattress at an residence in Brooklyn, New York City on Friday, in keeping with TMZ.

Erik Cowie has reportedly diedCredit: Netflix

One of his pals made the stunning discovery, the community mentioned.

It’s at present unclear the place Cowie, of Oklahoma, was staying with the buddy or whether or not the residence was his.

There was nothing suspicious concerning the demise, sources instructed the outlet, and no medicine have been discovered at the scene.

However, it’s doubtless {that a} toxicology take a look at will nonetheless be carried out.

In the previous, Cowie has admitted to having a ingesting downside however denied hypothesis he was a meth addict.

Earlier this 12 months, he bumped into authorized bother after being busted for a DUI in Oklahoma following a automobile accident.

However, he didn’t present as much as his courtroom look, which led to an arrest warrant being issued in May.


Cowie was greatest recognized for his appearances in Netflix’s Tiger King. He was certainly one of Joe Exotic’s longtime animal caretakers, having worked at his zoo for eight years.

But relations between the pair soured when Exotic was arrested in June 2018 for hiring two totally different hitmen to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin and numerous counts of animal abuse.

The keeper later testified in opposition to Exotic at trial, telling the courtroom he’d witnessed him order the executions of various zoo animals.

The testimony led to Exotic, whose actual identify is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, being sentenced to 22 years in federal jail in January 2020.

Cowie worked for Exotic for eight years
Cowie worked for Exotic for eight yearsCredit: Netflix
Joe Exotic is currently in prison following his bungled murder-for-hire plot
Joe Exotic is at present in jail following his bungled murder-for-hire plotCredit: Splash

His notorious tiger park was offered off quickly afterward, earlier than being briefly closed over a number of violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Cowie instructed DailyMailTV earlier this 12 months that he witnessed Exotic kill over 100 tigers and claimed most of the massive cats truly despised the larger-than-life star.

“Joe only cared about them in a monetary way,” Cowie of the massive cats, including that one lion particularly lion hated Exotic a lot it “would try to chew through the cage to get at him.”

“I learned a lot from Joe, mostly on not what to do,” he added.


Cowie additionally claimed Exotic would hit the big cats if they misbehaved.

“For one purpose or one other, a cub would change into unruly so Joe would take the infant cub out of view of the folks at the zoo and pop the cub within the nostril and produce it again out.

“I then had to deal with a baby cub who had just been popped in the nose and then make sure it wouldn’t act up and bite some older women or child.”

He voiced remorse that he did not do extra to avoid wasting the animals or uncover the abuse Exotic subjected them to earlier.

“These animals trusted me and I let a few of them down, for that I’ll always remember,” he mentioned.

“I love these animals dude. I’d sooner put myself under a bus than leave these animals. These animals are my children. They are the only reason why I’m out here. I’m just a guy who picks up poop with his hands and I’m good at cutting up cows to feed to the tigers.”

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