According to the New York Office Of The Chief Medical Examiner, the ‘Tiger King’ star’s official cause of death is “acute and chronic alcohol use.” In other words, the reality star had been suffering from alcohol addiction for quite some time, but a recent boozing session contributed to the sudden death.
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At this point, the medical examiner is classifying the death as “natural.” In many cases, even though the manner in which he died doesn’t seem “natural” — he didn’t pass away due to homicide or suicide, and drinking yourself to death is classified in this way. In some cases, especially celebrity overdose deaths, it can be ruled an “accident.”
‘Tiger King’ Star Erik Cowie Suffered From Long-Term Alcoholism
As we reported, Erik was found unconscious last month in a New York City apartment. The reality star was reportedly in town visiting a friend, and she found him face down on the floor. During the investigation, officers learned Erik had been using excessive alcohol for some time, and a large bottle of vodka was found at the scene.
It should be noted, no other drugs or paraphernalia were found inside the apartment.
If you are a fan of the show, you know that Erik made several appearances in Netflix’s hit television series as one of Joe Exotic’s longtime animal caretakers. Cowie is known as one of Joe’s head zookeepers and even kept working at the facility after Joe got tossed in prison. Unfortunately, their relationship soured after Cowie testified in a criminal case against Joe Exotic, saying he witnessed Exotic order some of the zoo animals to be shot and killed. The testimony directly contributed to his conviction in the case. As you know, Joe is now serving a 22-year prison sentence but is working on his appeal.
Joe Exotic Hired The Zookeeper After Being At ‘End Of His Rope’
According to the show, Erik showed up at Exotic’s doorstep where he was apparently, “at the end of his rope,” telling the reality star that he had a “drinking problem,” but denied doing any hard drugs despite his appearance. At the time, fans speculated that Cowie was abusing meth due to his teeth problems. Rotting and teeth falling out is a common side-effect of long-term meth use.
But, the reality star denied the allegations and got his teeth fixed in the months following the show.
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‘Tiger King’ Star Joe Exotic Reacts To Death Of His Co-Star Erik Cowie
The ‘Tiger King’ stars alcohol issues are well documented, including being busted for DUI earlier this year in Oklahoma following a car accident. At the time, Cowie was allegedly driving one of two cars involved in a car crash on the interstate, and officers claimed he smelled like booze on the scene. Reports claim he admitted to having 2 beers before driving, and his blood-alcohol level was only at 0.11.
Joe Exotic reacted to his former zookeeper’s death by saying he was not shocked by the outcome. “So am I shocked he is gone? No, not a bit. I put him through rehab in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and still [gave] him a home and a job.” he said from behind bars. Adding, “He had a horrible disease of alcohol.”