Erik Cowie, ‘Tiger King’ Documentary Subject, Dies At 52

Erik Cowie, a documentary subject featured in Netflix’s Tiger King, died on Sept. 3 of unknown causes. He was 52.

An unconscious male believed to be Cowie was found at 5:30 p.m. local time inside a bedroom inside a Brooklyn apartment building located at 21 East 55 Street, the NYPD told Deadline. They confirmed EMS was on the scene and pronounced the male deceased. The male’s identity is pending family identification.

NBC‘s local affiliate confirmed the deceased male is Cowie.

A representative from the Medical Examiner’s office said the cause and manner of death are pending further studies following the examination.

Cowie is credited as Head Keeper at the self-proclaimed Tiger King Joe Exotic’s now-defunct G.W. Exotic Animal Zoo in Wynnewood, Calif. where he worked directly with the wildcats. He worked at the zoo for 5 years.

Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence in connection to a murder-for-hire plot against his nemesis Carole Baskin and for crimes against his animals. Cowie testified against his former boss during Exotic’s trial in 2019 where he alleged Exotic shot five tigers to make space for more tigers. Cowie only heard the shots and did not see Exotic kill the animals but he claimed, “I knew what was going on.”

Watch on Deadline

TMZ, who first reported the news, claims no drugs were found on the scene.

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