'Tiger King' Star Erik Cowie Dies at 53

The zookeeper and reality TV star was found dead in a New York City residence
'Tiger King' Star Erik Cowie Dies at 53
Erik Cowie, zookeeper and Tiger King star, has died.

As TMZ reports, NYPD responded to a call about an unconscious male on Friday (September 3). The 53-year-old Oklahoma native was pronounced dead on the scene. As of yet, no cause of death has been determined. 

Cowie appeared in multiple episodes of the Netflix mega-hit, as one of the many caretakers that worked at Joe Exotic's controversial zoo. He was the head zookeeper for five years.

Cowie famously testified against his former boss in court, claiming that he had seen the 58-year-old Exotic — real name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage — kill some of his animals. After Exotic was convicted for his murder for hire plot as well as 17 additional wildlife charges, Cowie continued to work at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park under new owner Jeff Lowe.

In May 2020, Carole Baskin took over the Greater Wynnewood Zoo. She later chose to sell the property, on the grounds that it would never again be an exotic zoo or tourist attraction.