Louisiana State University’s 11-year-old tiger mascot, Mike VI, dies after a four-month battle with spindle cell sarcoma cancer.
The school announced Tuesday that the Bengali-Siberian hybrid had passed away. With Mike VI being one of only two live tiger mascots in the United States, LSU’s spirit was dampened with their loss.
The students of LSU discussed their regrets on social media and with each other. Caroline Laborde, a student at LSU, had visited Mike in his habitat every morning this year and began to form a special bond with the 420-pound tiger.
“The fact that we have a literal tiger living on our campus is such a huge part of our tradition and losing him to cancer was like losing a part of the LSU family,” Laborde says, “I’ve already been to his cage twice since he died and you can seriously feel his absence. Mike knew he was loved though.”
In May of this year, it was made public that Mike VI was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Later in the year, LSU announced that Mike’s cancer was terminal, even though he had been treated for it. He was expected to live for at least two more years, but unfortunately the cancer returned and spread to his head and now had only two months to live. Mike VI was euthanized soon after and was moved to a hospice Monday night due to his inability to remain outside.
“Roscoe,” later named as Mike VI, was donated to LSU by a rescue facility from Indiana. His first debut as LSU’s mascot was in October 2007 during the game against University of Florida.
During Mike VI’s first year as LSU’s mascot, the football team won the BSC National Championship.
David Baker, a doctor at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, announced that LSU has already started searching for Mike VII from rescue facilities.