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Illusionist Responding to Treatment, Doctor Says

October 08, 2003|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — It is "all but miraculous" that entertainer Roy Horn is alive and able to communicate after being bitten in the neck by a 600-pound tiger, his doctor said Tuesday.

Horn of the "Siegfried & Roy" show is able to move his feet and hands and is responding to treatment, Dr. Derek Duke said at a news conference at University Medical Center where Horn was hospitalized after Friday's attack.

Horn, 59, remained in critical condition with a severe neck injury. He lost a large amount of blood in the attack, doctors said, and later had a stroke.

Duke disputed reports that Horn was in a drug-induced coma. He said it will be some time before the extent of Horn's recovery will be known.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday September 04, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 58 words Type of Material: Correction
Siegfried & Roy -- Articles in various sections of The Times have been in conflict about the weight of the tiger that mauled illusionist Roy Horn on Oct. 3. Times reports have given its weight as 300, 550 and 600 pounds. Siegfried & Roy's publicist and Las Vegas animal control officials said the tiger weighed about 380 pounds.

"A contributing factor to his current condition is his extraordinary will and strong physical attributes," Duke said, reading from a prepared statement.

Horn was attacked by a royal white Siberian tiger named Montecore during Friday's sold-out show at the Mirage hotel and casino. The illusionist was alone onstage with the tiger when it latched onto his arm. After Horn tried to free himself by tapping the tiger on the head with a microphone, the animal lunged at his neck and dragged him offstage as 1,500 people in the audience watched.

Show workers used fire extinguishers backstage to distract the tiger, which initially refused to release the performer. Horn underwent surgery late Friday and had another operation to relieve pressure on the brain.

Longtime stage partner Siegfried Fischbacher told a German newspaper Tuesday that Horn was able to raise his hand in a V for victory sign.

"He's the strongest person in the world. We'll get through this together," Fischbacher told the Bild daily. "I'm sure he'll recover completely. He's over the worst."

Fischbacher said he had spent the last few days crying and praying for his longtime friend. He also said he felt for the tiger, who "reacted instinctively and was completely confused because Roy slipped."

Fischbacher said Roy noticed something was off with the tiger, so he departed from the routine and moved between the tiger and the audience. It was then that he stumbled, he said.

The pair's longtime manager expressed optimism that Horn will recover.

"Every second of every minute of every hour of every day that passes increases his chance of survival," Bernie Yuman said Tuesday. "He has the will of a thousand men."

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