Mantecore Tiger That Attacked Roy Horn Dead at 17

3/26/2014 12:45 AM PDT

Mantecore Dead -- Tiger that Attacked Roy Horn Of Siegfried & Roy Dies at 17

Mantecore -- the white tiger that mauled Roy Horn ... has died after an illness.

The 380-pound tiger severely injured Horn on a Las Vegas stage back in 2003, leaving him partially paralyzed.  Siegfried & Roy claimed then and continues to maintain it was NOT an attack.  Instead, they say, Roy was having a mini-stroke and Mantecore saved his life by dragging him offstage.

Roy says of the tiger, "We spent many hours together and he never failed to bring me great joy and wonderment.  It was my great honor to be beside him at the end.  He is now playing with his siblings in white tiger heaven."

Mantecore was 17.  RIP.