September 21, 2020

Michael Jackson’s Bengal tiger ‘Thriller’ dies from lung cancer


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Shortly after the third anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s death Tippi Hedren announced on Wednesday that Jackson’s former Bengal tiger named Thriller died from lung cancer. The 13-year-old, 375 pound tiger had been living at Hedren’s big cat sanctuary since May 2006 when Jackson’s veterinarian asked Hedren to take in Thriller and her brother Sabu.

Thriller and Sabu were born on November 20, 1998 at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

According to the Shambala Preserve website, Tippi Hedren’s wildlife preserve in Southern California is the home of more than 50 tigers, lions, and other big cats who have been abandoned, abused and unwanted. The cats have all been bred and born in the United States. The preserve is made up of lakes and trees and gives the big cats freedom to roam and live in peace. Most tigers are loners in the wild.

Tippi Hedren is best remembered as the actress who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1983 movie The Birds.

According to, Hedren stated that Thriller ruled the roost as far as Sabu was concerned which is generally in the wild contradictory. Hedren stated:

“Thriller was a real piece of work, one gutsy girl. She ruled Sabu’s life. It was humorous to watch the whole relationship. She did things to him that male tigers would normally never allow. She would steal food from him. That’s unheard of. She ruled the roost, was very independent and tough.”

Sadly Hedren also revealed that Jackson never inquired, asked or visited the tigers after he surrendered them to the sanctuary nor did he or his estate ever make a donation towards their care.

Thriller’s ashes will be buried in a private ceremony in an area on the sanctuary reserved for their animals who have died.

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