Tiger King Zookeeper Erik Cowie Cause Of Death Confirmed
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Featured Image Credit: Netflix
A New York City medical examiner confirmed that the 53-year-old died a ‘natural’ death following ‘acute and chronic alcohol use.’
It comes afterTMZ reported that no drugs had been found at the scene in the aftermath of Cowie's passing, while a large bottle of vodka was discovered near his body, which lay face down in a residential bedroom.
The former employee of Joe Exotic had previously admitted he was ‘at the end of [his] rope’ with alcohol addiction.
Several months ahead of his death, Cowie had been arrested and had pled guilty to a drink driving charge, following a car accident in Oklahoma.
Fans will remember Erik from the Netflix show, Tiger King, where he worked at Golden Week Zoo alongside the now imprisoned Joe Exotic.
Cowie was Joe Exotic's head zookeeper for five years, and was responsible for caring for his big cats before he was in jail.
He continued to work at the Golden Week Zoo even following Joe's jail conviction.
But he later testified against him in court, saying he had seen Joe order for some of his animals to be shot and killed - a statement which added to the infamous criminal's eventual conviction.
Cowie was outspoken about the fact that the animals at the zoo were always his main priority, while speaking in interviews on the show.
Joe Exotic was convicted of 17 charges of animal abuse as well as the two counts of attempted murder for hire for his plan to kill rival, Carole Baskin.
And since his arrest, Cowie has remained defiant in his stance about his former boss, who is serving a 22-year sentence in Fort Worth, Texas.
When quizzed on whether he should be released from jail early, when speaking to Joel McHale for The Tiger King and I, he said: "No. Not no, but f*** no.
"22 years doing federal time – that guy’s gonna die in there. Good riddance."
Discussing the way he was often forced to treat the animals in his care, he pondered in the reunion special: “Those cats trusted me up until the end. Sometimes, I swear they’re like ‘Dude you let me down’.”