"Don't let me go, don't let me go."
Siegfried Fischbacher still thinks about Roy Horn's last request and how he wasn't able to meet it.
The last request — a plea to stop paramedics from taking him to the hospital — was also the last thing Roy ever said to Siegfried.
"He told me, one night as we were having dinner, 'You know, if something happens to me, don't take me to the hospital,'" Siegfried told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "If you do, I know I'm not going to come back."
At the time of the aforementioned dinner conversation, Roy was already suffering from COVID-19 symptoms and had an idea that death wasn't far away. Not long after that, Roy was in need of hospital-level medical care, but he wanted to live out his final days at Siegfried & Roy's Las Vegas home, Little Bavaria.
"I went to bed, and soon there was a knock on my door," Siegfried said. "The nurse said, 'Mr. Siegfried, we have to go to the hospital. The doctor is here, Roy has high fever, and we have to take him to the hospital.' I get dressed, I come out and there he is, on a stretcher. After all this, I did not know what to say. … But we have to go to the hospital, where there is the right equipment."
Siegfried remembers Roy looking up at him in that moment, saying, "Don't let me go, don't let me go."
"The doctor says, 'We have to take him, we have to,' and I wanted to go with him, but they said nobody is allowed to be with him in the hospital," Siegfried said. "But that was the last thing he said to me, 'Don't let me go.'"
From that moment on, Siegfried would only see his longtime partner through glass. The duo shared a final wave through a window as Roy rested in an ICU bed a few days before he passed.
Siegfried & Roy were well known in Europe, particularly in their native Germany, but they shot to worldwide fame after launching their Las Vegas show.
In the '90s, long before the influx of Cirque du Soleil and high-profile residency shows, their act was arguably the hottest ticket in town.
The show, though, came to a sudden and shocking end in October 2003 when Roy was mauled by the big-cat Mantecore (then known as Montecore) during a live show. Audience members were left stunned when the animal dragged Roy off stage in its mouth.
Siegfried & Roy would return to the stage one final time in 2009 during a charity event for the Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.