Siegfried & Roy star Roy Horn insists he would be dead if his white tiger Montecore had not attempted to drag the entertainer to safety after he suffered a stroke onstage during a Las Vegas show in 2003.
At the time, many fans feared the big cat had attacked the showman, speculating that Montecore had become spooked by a man in the audience, but Horn has always maintained that his tiger actually saved his life.
Horn tells Entertainment Tonight, "I got a stroke and I fall down and I seen the blue eyes (of Montecore) still looking at me, like, 'What now? What happened?' "So he did what every cat would do when they're little - he picked me up by the neck and tried to carry me to the side for he know we were safe (sic). He took care of me. He severed my artery and it was an absolute blessing."
Horn claims that if Montecore hadn't released the pressure, his owner would have been left brain dead. He adds, "I could have been a vegetable."
Horn reveals the worst wasn't over - he had three operations following the ill-fated performance and he suffered more strokes on the operating table: "I died clinically three times." Montecore died earlier this year (14).