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Who was Erik Cowie in Tiger King and how did he die?

The Netflix show released season two this week

tiger king 2
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
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The second season of Tiger King was released onto Netflix this week and, unsurprisingly, viewers have plenty of questions after watching the five new episodes. One burning question many seem to have is about Erik Cowie – who was referenced in the first season as an associate of the "Tiger King" himself, Joe Exotic.

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However, the new series ends with a tribute to Erik, leaving many to wonder what happened to the former zookeeper. Find out who Erik was and how he died here…

WATCH: Tiger King 2: all you need to know - cast, release date and more

Who was Erik Cowie?

Fans who watched the first instalment of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness on Netflix in 2020 will likely recognise the name Erik Cowie. Erik worked alongside Joe, who is now serving a 22-year sentence on murder-for-hire and animal abuse charges, and appeared in the documentary discussing Joe's animal park in Greater Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

Erik helped to managed the tigers and other big cats that were held at the park and, to begin with, supported Joe after he was arrested. However, Erik learned more about Joe's crimes and eventually went on to testify against him in court – which contributed to Joe being put behind bars, where he remains today.

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erik cowie tiger king

Erik Cowie died last year

How did Erik Cowie die?

At the end of season two, the Netflix documentary pays tribute to Erik over two months after his passing. Erik died roughly one year after the closure of the GW Exotic Animal Park. Erik had discussed his troubles with alcohol in season one, and sadly this was the cause of his death.

He was found in a Brooklyn apartment on Friday 3 September 2021, with the coroner ruling his death as "acute and chronic" alcohol abuse.

joe exotic tiger king 2© Photo: Netflix

Joe Exotic is now serving a 22-year prison sentence

What are the fans making of Tiger King 2?

Many viewers seem just as captivated by the new episodes as they were by series one. Plenty have been giving their verdict on social media. One person said: "#TigerKing2 is absolutely insane. Captivating stuff." Another tweeted: "Big Cat people are all insane. I'm here for all of it #TigerKing2 make 11 more seasons @dylan_hf I'll eat em all up."

A third added: "#TigerKing2 is just as insane as the first part. Just a rollercoaster of a ride… That Tim Stark is just as mad as the rest of them. I hope there's part 3!! Let's the saga continue #TigerKing #TigerKingSeason2." 

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