'Tiger King' Zookeeper Erik Cowie Dead at 53

Erik Cowie, one of the zookeepers featured in "Tiger King", has passed away. TMZ has learned.
Sources close to law enforcement tell us that Cowie's body was discovered in NYC on Friday. According to reports, a friend found Cowie lying face down in a bedroom at a home. It's not clear if it was theirs or his, but he was quite far from Oklahoma, where they had lived and worked in recent years.

Sources tell us that there is nothing suspicious about the death. There were no drugs found at the scene. However, a toxicology test will be conducted.

As one of Joe Exotics longest-serving animal caretakers, the guy made numerous appearances on Netflix's hit series. He was often credited as being the head keeper for JE's big cats... and even continued to work at GW Zoo after Joe was released from prison.

Joe was convicted because Cowie, who testified against Joe, said he had seen Joe kill some of the animals at the zoo.

Cowie stated that he was "at (his) end" before showing up at Joe's door. He admitted to one-time drinking problems, but denied any other drug or addiction.

Many speculated that Cowie may have used meth because of his poor teeth. But he dismissed this notion and said it was due to old age. He had his chompers cleaned up nicely after the "Tiger King" episode.

Cowie, like many other "Tiger King” stars, had been in legal trouble. He was arrested in Oklahoma for DUI earlier this year after a car accident. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was due to be sentenced within a short time.

He didn't show up at court so an arrest warrant was issued. Although it was not clear where he had gone, it is obvious that he arrived in the Big Apple.

Erik was 53 years old.

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