Jeff Johnson Dies: ‘Tiger King’ Former Reptile Dealer Was 58

Jeff Johnson, the former reptile dealer seen in Netflix’s Tiger King has died, Oklahoma City Police confirmed to Deadline today. His cause of death was declared a suicide. He was 58.

Johnson’s appearance on the show was not long, but it was memorable. In Episode 4 of Season 1, Johnson shed light on the animosity between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin saying, “Carole’s lawyers are vicious and they go after anybody involved…So everybody that had been involved all got dragged into court.”

According to the police report, Johnson shot himself on September 8 of this year after an argument with his wife. He was alive when first responders arrived, but pronounced dead at the hospital.

It’s been a bad couple months for the Tiger King family. Just days before Johnson’s death, Erik Cowie, a zookeeper featured on the Netflix series, died on September 3. The cause of Cowie’s passing was acute and chronic alcohol abuse, according to the New York Medical Examiner. He was 52.

Exactly one month after the zookeeper’s passing, show star Joe Exotic, who is in prison for his part in a murder-for-hire plot, asked for a compassionate release because he said he has “aggressive cancer.” The large animal aficionado claimed he didn’t want sympathy for his condition but said if treatment fails, he wants to be released to “enjoy what life I have left with my loved ones!”

The second season of the Netflix series premiered on November 17.

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