A tiger that once belonged to the King of Pop Michael Jackson has died of lung cancer at the age of 13.
The female tiger named Thriller —after the star's bestselling album — and her brother Sabu both once lived at Jackson's mythical Neverland Estate near Santa Barbara, California. The pop superstar relinquished custody of the tigers in 2006, after a series of financial reversals. The cats were eventually given to The Birds actress Tippi Hedren, who runs the wildlife preserve Shambala fifty miles north of Los Angeles, California.
When Jackson sold the Neverland Estate, his veterinarian asked Hedren —the mother of actress Melanie Griffith —to take the sibling tigers into her sanctuary. Other animals that were a part of Jackson's extensive menagerie— including giraffes, flamingos, orangutans, elephants and dozens of reptiles —were sent to other sanctuaries in other parts of the country.
Hedren states that both the tigers arrived at Shambala in good physical and mental condition. She was upset, however, that Jackson never returned to see the tigers after parting with them, nor did he contribute financially to their care, although some of the proceeds from the sale of Michael's famous Thriller video jacket —which went for $1.8 million at auction in 2011—were handed over to help with some of the enormous expenses.
Last Monday marked the third anniversary of Jackson's untimely death.