'Tiger King' Star Erik Cowie Has Passed Away at 53 — Details

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Sep. 9 2021, Published 12:20 p.m. ET

Zookeeper Erik Cowie, most known for appearing on Netflix's documentary Tiger King: Murder, Madness and Mayhem, has passed away.

He was only 53 years old.

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Erik — who had since been living out of the public eye following the shutdown of Joe Exotic’s (real name: Joseph Maldonado-Passage) zoo, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park — was found dead in a New York City residence on Sept. 3, 2021.

Now,Tiger King fans have one burning question in mind: What was Erik Cowie’s cause of death? Keep reading to get the full scoop.

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What was Erik Cowie’s cause of death?

Erik Cowie's death has yet to be confirmed by a medical examiner.

Per TMZ, sources say that there is nothing suspicious about Erik’s death at this time. However, investigators have shared with the outlet that a large bottle of vodka was found at the scene.

Not to mention, the site shares that no drugs were found at the scene, but it’s likely that a toxicology report will be ordered along with the autopsy.

Erik, who reportedly lived and worked in Oklahoma, was said to be visiting a friend in New York.

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Erik has been a hot topic in the headlines for various comments he made about his former boss, Joe Exotic. Erik even took the stand during Joe's trial to testify against him.

Oklahoma News 4 shares that Erik testified that he seen the zoo owner shoot and kill old tigers to free up cage space for new animals.

“I knew what was going on. I’m [not] stupid,” Erik told reporters, per the outlet. “I knew cats were getting shot.”

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Erik continued, "We needed three cages. He wiped out five cats. He came up a 4-10 in his hand and I knew he just shot Cuddles. I heard it, and he comes up the hill and goes … 'If I knew it was going to be this easy to just walk right up the cage, I was just going to kill them all.'”

Joe Exotic claims that he was "not shocked" to learn about Erik Cowie’s passing.

It’s no surprise that there was some bad blood between Joe Exotic and Erik Cowie. After all, Erik was one of many people who helped authorities convict Joe.

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Now that the news of Erik’s passing has made its rounds, Joe wasted no time sharing his thoughts.

“Erik Cowie got what he deserved,” Joe told the Daily Mail. “Never wish evil upon anyone else. God is watching.”

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Joe alleged that Erik had a history of suffering from alcohol abuse and had undergone treatment.

“So am I shocked he is gone? No, not a bit," Joe told the outlet. “I put him through rehab in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and still [gave] him a home and a job. He had a horrible disease of alcohol.'”

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Joe went on to share that he’s sad that Erik has passed away, but that he felt his actions worked against him.

“'I'm sad he is gone, but the last words he spoke about me backfired,” Joe added.

Friends and fans have taken to social media to mourn Erik's passing.

"You are gone too soon ... We all miss you so much," tweeted one person.

"Coolest one on the farm," another tweeted.

We would like to take a moment to send our deepest condolences to the friends and loved ones of Erik Cowie.

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