‘Tiger King’ reptile dealer Jeff Johnson dead by suicide

A reptile dealer who appeared on the popular Netflix show Tiger King has died by suicide, according to police.

Jeff Johnson was 58 and appeared in episode four of the show’s first season, where he talked about animal rights activist and Joe Exotic nemesis Carole Baskin.

Zookeeper and show favorite Erik Cowie also died just days before Johnson. According to official reports, he died in his New York apartment, with police attributing his death to alcohol abuse.

Tiger King was a global sensation when it premiered on March 20, 2020. It followed the story of Joe Exotic, a convicted felon currently serving 22 years in prison for trying to hire men to murder Baskin.

Earlier this week, the blond, mulleted zookeeper-turned-assassin-recruiter was transferred to a medical facility for inmates after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and a host of other issues.

Netflix released Tiger King 2 on Nov. 17 and Exotic’s lawyer John Phillips said that Exotic has “no access to be able to watch Netflix and has been in COVID quarantine after transferring prisons,” so he wasn’t able to watch it. “We hope to have access to him soon,” Phillips said.

More than 34.3 million people watched the first season of the show within its first ten days of release. The second season of the show covers the popular zookeeper’s prison sentence and dives deeper into the disappearance of Don Lewis, Baskin’s former husband.

You can watch Tiger King 2 now on Netflix.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. A list of international crisis resources can be found here.