Tiger King's Joe Exotic Reveals "Aggressive Cancer" Diagnosis

Tiger King star Joe Exotic shared a handwritten letter from prison, telling his fans that his prostate biopsy came back with an aggressive cancer.

By Lindsay Weinberg Nov 03, 2021 11:24 PMTags
Watch: "Tiger King": Nicolas Cage to Play Joe Exotic in Limited Series

Tiger King star Joe Exotic revealed that he has an "aggressive cancer." 

On Nov. 3, his Instagram page posted a handwritten letter, dated Oct. 27, that Exotic had written to fans from prison. In the letter, Exotic said his doctors called to tell him that his prostate biopsy came back with a cancer diagnosis.

He said he was sharing the news "with a sad face," adding, "I am still waiting on the results from other test as well."

The big cat fanatic wrote that he doesn't "want anyones pitty [sic]," but instead hopes fans will advocate for his release from prison. He was previously sentenced to 22 years behind bars for two separate murder-for-hire plot counts for allegedly attempting to hire hitmen to take down his rival, Carole Baskin. However, a federal appeals court ruled in July that a trial court must give him a new sentence, grouping the alleged crimes together.

Tiger King Stars: Where Are They Now?

"What I need is the world to be my voice [and] to be released," Exotic wrote in his latest letter. "They have the proof I did not do this and 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." 

The TV star's attorney, John Phillips, confirmed Joe's cancer in a tweet on Nov. 3. "He and I spoke Monday with both of us in tears at a point," the lawyer wrote. "He needs freedom by so many definitions and we are diligent working towards that."


Earlier this year, Exotic's husband, Dillon Passage, announced that he was divorcing the television personality. Passage wrote on Instagram that he will "always love and support" his ex. 

When announcing his cancer diagnosis, Exotic speculated that Baskin, his Tiger King co-star, "will have her own party over this." 

She is currently in the midst of her own legal battle with Netflix over footage allegedly being used in Tiger King 2. This week, a Florida court denied a request from her and husband Howard Baskin for a temporary restraining order. 

The Baskins wanted to prevent Royal Goode Productions and Netflix from using "any footage of the Baskins or the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary" in the documentary Tiger King 2, according to the judge's decision obtained by E! News.


"Although the Baskins signed a release when they were filmed for the original Tiger King documentary, they did not sign a release for or otherwise participate in the filming of Tiger King 2," the document reads. 

The judge found that the Baskins "are not entitled to the extraordinary remedy" of a temporary restraining order, as it would be entered before the defendants could respond to the lawsuit. "The Court takes no position on whether the Baskins will be able to establish entitlement to a preliminary injunction," it added. Their case is still ongoing.

Netflix had no comment on the lawsuit when it was filed on Nov. 1.

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