'Tiger King': Joe Exotic zookeeper Erik Cowie dies at 52

One of the personalities from Tiger King has died.

The body of Erik Cowie, featured as a zookeeper for Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka Joe Exotic) in the popular Netflix docuseries, was found unconscious Friday at 5:30 p.m. in New York City, according to both TMZ and the New York Daily News. A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment that a 52-year-old male was pronounced dead in the bedroom of an apartment at that time and that the medical examiner will determine the cause of death. However, the department is not yet identifying the deceased so that the family can be notified.

Erik Cowie, who appeared in
Erik Cowie, who appeared in Tiger King, has died. (Photo: Netflix)

Cowie, who took care of Exotic's cats when he appeared in the series, resided in Oklahoma. TMZ reported that he continued in that role even after Exotic was imprisoned for attempting to have rival Carole Baskin killed in a murder-for-hire plot and committing offenses against animals, and he testified against his former boss at his trial.

Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to Netflix for comment.

"Tiger King" debuted in March 2020. (Photo: Netflix)
"Tiger King" debuted in March 2020. (Photo: Netflix)

While Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness aired in March 2020, less than two years ago, there have been other significant developments in the story since then. In July, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that the 22-year prison sentence that Exotic had previously received be vacated on a technicality. Baskin confirmed in August that the zoo that she had since taken over from Exotic — which was awarded to her in a lawsuit — had been sold. On top of that, there's been continued drama in other areas: Exotic has been diagnosed with cancer and gone through a divorce, Bhagavan "Doc" Antle was indicted on charges of animal cruelty, Exotic requested but did not receive a pardon from two presidents and co-star Jeff Lowe survived a stroke, just to name a few things that have happened.