The Tragic Death Of Jeff Johnson From Tiger King

Jeff Johnson, the former reptile dealer featured in Netflix's "Tiger King," has died. The true-crime documentary series premiered in 2020 and focused on Joe Exotic, a convicted felon who was formerly a zookeeper. Johnson appeared in Season 1, Episode 4 of the series and talked briefly about the tension between Joe Exotic and animal rights activist Carole Baskin.

According to a report from Deadline, Johnson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound back on September 8, 2021. At the time of the incident, he was arguing with his wife in their home in Oklahoma when he shot himself in the head with a handgun. His wife immediately called 911, and Johnson was still breathing when the first responders arrived at the home. He was taken to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead soon after. He was 58 years old.

Upon further investigation, Johnson's wife said that her husband had never attempted suicide before and he didn't have any mental illnesses that she knew of. It is unclear why Johnson decided to kill himself, per TMZ.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Another Tiger King tragedy

The death of Jeff Johnson is the second tragic incident in the "Tiger King" family in a short time. Just a few days prior to Johnson's suicide, Erik Cowie — a zookeeper who was also featured in the documentary — also died. Per Deadline, Cowie's body was discovered in an apartment in Brooklyn. The medical examiner declared his cause of death as resulting from acute and chronic alcohol abuse. Cowie was 52 years old at the time of his death.

Meanwhile, Joe Exotic — who is serving a 22-year sentence for a murder-for-hire plot — is seeking a compassionate release from prison after learning of his cancer diagnosis. According to USA Today, he has an aggressive form of prostate cancer, and he doesn't want to live the rest of his life confined in prison. "There is no reason for the U.S. Attorney to drag this out so I can go home and get treatment on my own or enjoy what life I have left with my loved ones," he said. Joe Exotic was sentenced on January 22, 2020.