Tiger King 2 was released on Netflix with more twists and turns. Viewers were hooked on the first season Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness which documented tiger owner Joe Exotic and animal activist Carole Baskin’s heated feud.

But fans were left shocked when they saw the series end with a tribute to Erik Cowie. He played an integral role in the original Netflix hit as well as made an appearance in The Tiger King and I.

Who was Erik Cowie?

Zookeeper Erik Cowie used to work at GW Zoo in Greater Wynnewood, Oklahoma caring for the tigers alongside Joe Exotic.

Exotic is currently serving a 22-year sentence for his murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin and animal abuse charges.

Originally, Cowie supported Exotic when criticism began to intensify over his treatment of the animals. But, he later testified in court that his boss had certain animals killed. He expressed remorse within the Netflix special Tiger King and I for working with Exotic while he was committing animal abuse.

Emily in Paris | Season 2 Official Trailer | Netflix

How did Erik Cowie die?

Erik Cowie continued to work at GW Zoo after Exotic was sentenced, and up until the closure of the zoo in August 2020.

Tragically, he passed away around one year after the park closed. Distractify reported that the zookeeper was found dead in New York City on September 3rd 2021 at 53 years of age.

Fox News found that Erik passed away from “acute and chronic alcohol use.” Investigators shared with the outlet that a large bottle of vodka was found at the scene. Cowie had discussed his struggles with alcohol addiction in the original Tiger King documentary.

Fans pay tribute to Erik Cowie on Twitter

Fans of the Tiger King documentaries on Netflix paid tribute to Erik Cowie on Twitter.

One user wrote: “Absolutely sickening for Tiger King to end their 2nd season by dropping the bomb that Erik Cowie (one of the few decent people on the show) died this year.”

While another wrote: “Awww RIP Erik Cowie. #TigerKing2.”

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