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Tiger King’s Joe Exotic says co-star Erik Cowie ‘got what he deserved’ amid sudden death

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Joe Exotic, 58, is serving more than 20 years in prison after being found guilty of the attempted murder for hire of animal rights activist Carole Baskin. In the hugely popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Erik Cowie was Joe’s right-hand man at Oklahoma’s Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, but their relationship became strained after Joe’s conviction, with Erik testifying against him.

Joe has now hit out at Erik after news of his death and said that he is “not shocked” to hear of his passing.

Erik, 52, was reportedly found face down in bed with a large bottle of vodka nearby at his friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, New York on Friday evening.

Joe said he paid for his late colleague to attend a rehab facility to help beat his addiction to booze seven years ago and said his former big cat guardian suffered “a horrible disease”.

A medical examiner has yet to determine Erik’s cause of death.

The Tiger King protagonist did not hold back about his feelings toward his former employee, who had told TV cameras that Joe should die in prison.

“Never wish evil upon anyone else,” Joe told Daily Mail.

The pair fell out after Erik gave evidence against his former boss in Joe’s criminal trial.

Joe remains livid over Erik’s role in sending him to jail, claiming his former employee “was sitting up there lying his a** off” to secure his 22-year-long jail sentence.

“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 had a horrible disease of alcohol,” added the Tiger King star.

In the show, Erik expressed no remorse for his ex-boss’ plight saying: “He’s going to die in there. So good riddance.”

Joe remains livid at that attack, adding: “I’m sad he is gone but the last words he spoke about me backfired.

“Who is going to come forward and be a hero and get me out in Erik’s name?”

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TV producer, podcaster and close friend of Exotic, Theresa McKeown, spent time with both men at the GW Zoo.

Reflecting on the Tiger King star’s death, she said: “It’s a shame that Erik died at such a relatively young age, but his disease takes many long before their time. I believe he truly cared about animals, but fell short on his concern for humans.”

Theresa was shocked by Erik’s testimony during the 2019 trial after previously exhibiting fierce loyalty to his employer for many years.

“When I interviewed him in 2014, he told me that Joe saved his life,” she said.

“He said there was nothing he wouldn’t do for the man.

“A few years later, he took the stand and turned on Joe when he needed him most. I was stunned when I heard what he said, not only because I didn’t believe it was true, but because I knew how many chances Joe had given him. It’s a sad ending on so many levels.”

Theresa has been examining Joe’s 2019 criminal trial in-depth on her new podcast The Judge & The Journalist, available on Apple Podcasts.

The subject of Erik’s alcoholism has been discussed in the show at length.

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