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Michael Jackson's tiger 'Thriller' dies of lung cancer

Thriller and his brother Sabu at the Shambala Compound.
Thriller and his brother Sabu at the Shambala Compound. Bill Dow/shambala.org

They say celebrity deaths always happen in threes and after Nora Ephron's passing yesterday, Wednesday too has seen the black veil drop. Thriller, one of two tigers once owned by the King of Pop, has died at Tippi Hedren's wildlife preserve near Los Angeles. He was 13.

The nearly-400 pound cat succumbed to lung cancer almost three years after his owner, Michael Jackson, passed in June 2009.

An autopsy was performed before the tiger was cremated. Thriller and brother Sabu were born in 1998 and resided with Jackson for eight years until he left the Neverland ranch in 2006. Jackson's veterinarian reportedly requested Hedren take the cats to stay with her in Acton's Shambala Preserve.

A compound costing about $80,000 was built on a lake where Thriller lived his with brother until his death.

Despite Jackson's love of animals, Hedren says he never called to check on the tigers and never sent any money to help pay for their care.

With contributions by Paige Osburn

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