Tiger King’s Jeff Johnson Dead At 58, Police Confirm He Died By Suicide

Jeff Johnson, a reptile dealer who was featured in Tiger King, has died at 58 due to suicide.

Johnson died on Sept. 8 by suicide after an argument with his wife in their home’s garage per the Oklahoma City Police Department.

tiger king's jeff johnson dead at 58, police confirm he died by suicide
Image via Shutterstock

Police say Johnson was in front of his wife when he shot himself.

Per the report, Jeff’s wife immediately called 911 and when local authorities arrived at the scene, Jeff still had a pulse. But upon arriving at a local hospital, Johnson was pronounced dead.

Police said the couple’s two children were also home when the incident took place. In addition, Johnson was not known to have any mental illnesses prior to his death.

Johnson made a brief appearance in season 1, episode 4 of Tiger King, which premiered in 2020, where he spoke about animal-rights activist Carole Baskin.

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The Netflix docuseries followed the Oklahoma big cat zoo operated by Joseph Maldonado-Passage who is famously known at Joe Exotic. In April 2019, Joe was found guilty in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his rival, Baskin.

He was sentenced in 2020 to serve 22 years in prison for that and other crimes, which included killing tigers to make room for more big cats at his exotic animal park.

Johnson died just days after zookeeper Erik Cowie, who also appeared in Tiger King.

Cowie died on Sept. 3 from acute and chronic alcohol use in his Brooklyn, New York apartment at the time and his manner of death has been determined as natural.

tiger king's jeff johnson dead at 58, police confirm he died by suicide
Image via Shutterstock

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Cowie worked alongside Joe Exotic as one of the zookeepers at the ill-fated G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood, prior to his death. Cowie testified against Joe Exotic in the case.

On the “Tiger King” after-show “The Tiger King and I,” Cowie spoke on his time working with Exotic.

“A lot of times when we put cats down, they used me because just by my appearance or my voice, I could get a cat up the side of a cage, where we can dart it and tranquilize it so they could be put down and stuff,” he said. “You know, those cats trusted me up until the end, and somehow, sometimes I swear they’re like, ‘Dude, you let me down’ kinda thing. I could see it in their face and their eyes.”

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