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Who was Erik Cowie? All about the 'Tiger King' zookeeper who worked for Joe Exotic, as he passed away at 53

Eric Cowie popularly known from the Tiger King passes away at the age of 53 (Images via Netflix)
Eric Cowie popularly known from the Tiger King passes away at the age of 53 (Images via Netflix)
Karishma Rao

Erik Cowie, popularly known for his appearance on Netflix’s Tiger King has passed away at the age of 53. The star was found in the bedroom of a New York property, but it is unclear whether the residence belonged to him or his friend. Sources suggested that Cowie’s death was in no way suspicious.

TMZ reported that there were no signs of drugs at the scene, but a toxicology test will be carried out.

It remains strange how the cat-lover was found in New York City. Erik Cowie famously called Oklahoma his home, and it was where he worked before his death.


More about Erik Cowie, from Netlfix's Tiger King

Erik Cowie was the head keeper of Joe Exotic’s big wild cats. He appeared in several of the documentary episodes alongside Joe Exotic. Cowie stayed on-site with the cats at Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma.

Despite Joe Exotic's predicament, Cowie testified against his employer-friend, who was jailed after conspiring to murder rival Carole Baskin. Cowie went on record stating that he had seen Joe Exotic make an order for Baskin to be killed.

At the time of the investigation, Erik Cowie told reporters:

"Those cats trusted me and so they could look me in the eye when they died. I was the guy that was right there, that means a minute to me, a heavy minute."
Erik Cowie's employer Joe Exotic (Image via BBC)
Erik Cowie's employer Joe Exotic (Image via BBC)

Towards the end of the fan-favorite Netflix documentary, Cowie was seen working at the zoo, which is now managed by Jeff Lowe.

After Joe Exotic was replaced by Lowe, Cowie reportedly told his new boss:

"I don't care about you, I don't care about Joe, I'm here for the cats. These are my kids out here."

Despite there being no evidence of Cowie consuming drugs, he admitted to having a drinking problem. Further reports of his death are expected in the coming days.


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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul

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