LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Siegfried Fischbacher, the longtime Las Vegas performer of "Siegfried and Roy", died Wednesday night. He was 81.
Fischbacher died at his Las Vegas home Wednesday night from pancreatic cancer, according to publicist Dave Kirvin.
German news agency dpa said Thursday that Fischbacher's sister, a nun who lives in Munich, confirmed his death of cancer. Sister Dolore told dpa that her brother was at home in Las Vegas. She says said she spoke with her brother on the phone before he died and they prayed together.
German newspaper Bild reported earlier this week that Fischbacher was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer and was in hospice care in Las Vegas.
Fischbacher performed alongside Roy Horn in "Siegfried and Roy." Together, Horn and Fischbacher captivated audiences with death-defying tricks and larger-than-life tigers beginning in the 90s.
Horn died of COVID-19 in May.
"Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” Fischbacher said in a statement at the time of Horn's death. "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."
Siegfried and Roy began in Las Vegas in 1967 at “Follies Bergère,” “Hallelujah Hollywood” and “Lido de Paris.” Their show "Beyond Belief" headlines the New Frontier in 1981. The duo rose to fame in their 14-year run at The Mirage, which began in 1990.
The act included white tigers, white lions, leopards, jaguars and more. The Siegfried and Roy legacy continues at The Secret Garden at The Mirage, which houses big cats and dolphins.
“We did what we did out of love, not for success or money,” Fischbacher once said, according to Kirvin. “We had a deep respect for each other. We literally raised each other: I created Roy and Roy created Siegfried.”
Feld Entertainment CEO Ken Feld, also a former Siegfried and Roy producer, mourned the deaths of the iconic duo:
Today, the world of magic said good-bye to one of its greatest innovators. Siegfried Fischbacher, as part of the world-renowned duo Siegfried and Roy, took the art of magic to new heights through spectacular illusions while always maintaining his mastery of the close up, sleight of hand magic he developed as a young man. My father, Irvin and I first met Siegfried and Roy in 1977, collaborating with them on groundbreaking television productions and their first headline production, Beyond Belief, at The Frontier hotel in Las Vegas. Ultimately, this led to world tours and our ground-breaking show at The Mirage which redefined live-entertainment in Las Vegas. But perhaps Siegfried’s most important legacy will be his commitment to mentoring and inspiring magicians from around the world and championing the artform he loved for generations to come.
Gov. Steve Sisolak released a statement on Fischbacher's death:
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our legendary illusionist Siegfried Fishbacher. He was a ‘Master of the Impossible’ and an exemplary Nevadan whose contributions – alongside the late great Roy Horn - helped shine a bright spotlight on Las Vegas’s entertainment industry to the world. Kathy and I send our love and condolences to his family, friends and loved ones at this time.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman released a statement with her husband, former mayor Oscar Goodman:
We are just crushed to have lost Siegfried our wonderful friend and giant entertainer. Anyone who came to town, their request was always, “I must see Siegfried and Roy!” They put Las Vegas on the map not only as spectacular illusionists but also as breeders, trainers and caretakers of royal felines which grew to be an enormous part of their performance. Visitors to their personal home had the thrill of seeing the habitat where so many cubs were born and raised. And a trip to the Mirage Hotel and the Secret Garden was a treat one never could forget. More importantly than anything, Siegfried was the kindest and most loyal friend and a beautiful individual. What is calming now is to realize is that he is back with his life partner, Roy Horn, and at peace. You are loved, dear Siegfried.
MGM Resorts tweeted condolences following Fischbacher's death:
The passing of Siegfried Fischbacher marks the end of an era. Siegfried & Roy had a vision for the kind of entertainment spectacular the world at large had never before seen. We are grateful for all they meant to MGM Resorts, Las Vegas and to the world of entertainment. pic.twitter.com/9Yx6TDVfyl— MGM Resorts (@MGMResortsIntl) January 14, 2021
Kirvin said funeral services for Fischbacher will be private, but there are plans for a public memorial in the future. In lieu of flowers, Kirvin asked donations be made to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.