Jeff Lowe of Tiger King is claiming that he was poisoned after he suffered a stroke last week that sent him to the hospital. The former zoo owner collapsed at a casino in the early hours of March 18th, and he and his wife have a hunch that it wasn’t brought on by natural causes.
If you didn’t watch the hit Netflix show that aired almost exactly a year ago, Lowe was painted as one of the repugnant antagonists to the show’s main subject Joe Exotic. In Netflix’s telling of the convoluted story, Lowe initially came on as a benevolent business partner who wanted to help Exotic revive his struggling zoo, but the 54-year-old ultimately snatched the compound out from under him when Exotic was imprisoned for a 22-year sentence.
Although Lowe ultimately lost control of the zoo to Exotic’s true arch nemesis Carole Baskin, he’s apparently still a celebrity figure that fans care to approach in public. According to Lowe’s wife Lauren, who spoke with TMZ about the night her husband nearly died, the two of them were dining on the eve of March 17th when a mysterious man approached their table who claimed he knew them and knew Jeff’s favorite drink order.
Lauren says they had no idea who he was, but that he hung around when a cluster of Tiger King fans approached their table for pictures. Hours later, around 3 a.m., Jeff collapsed at the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma and she quickly called 911. “I thought he was dying in my arms,” she told TMZ. Jeff wasn’t breathing when paramedics arrived, so they airlifted him to a hospital in Denton, TX and managed to revive him.
He’s currently recovering at his home after spending three days in the hospital, but Lauren says that he’s struggling with speech and coordination. The couple are still trying to piece together the events of the night, but their current suspicion is that the strange man at the restaurant spiked Jeff’s drink when they weren’t looking. Lauren told TMZ that Jeff’s urine tests came back negative for “commonly abused drugs”, so she believes that he might have used something “more exotic”.
She also told TMZ that they haven’t reported the incident to the police yet. Earlier this week, Lauren posted a photo on her Instagram thanking her fans for their “thoughts and prayers”.