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‘Tiger King’ star Joe Exotic moved to N.C. medical facility

The former zookeeper is transferred from a federal center in Texas as he battles prostate cancer.
"Tiger King" star Joe Exotic.
"Tiger King" star Joe Exotic. [ Netflix ]
Published Nov. 21
Updated Nov. 21

Joe Exotic, the eccentric star of Netflix’s hit docuseries Tiger King, has been transferred from a federal medical center in Texas to another in North Carolina amid his ongoing battle with prostate cancer.

The former zookeeper, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was moved from Fort Worth Federal Medical Center in Texas to the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, which has been home to a number of “celebrity inmates,” including Bernie Madoff. His attorney, John Phillips, confirmed to Fox News that the move occurred “during the late hours of November 16 or early morning hours of November 17.”

According to its website, Butner provides “extensive medical services,” including a full hospital and cancer treatment facilities. Phillips noted the transfer was originally scheduled to occur in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, Joe Exotic took to Twitter to reveal that his prostate cancer was much more aggressive than he initially believed.

“Say a prayer everyone & be my voice,” he wrote.

Phillips added Friday that his client “has been undergoing medical treatment and tests for a host of issues.”

“The PSA test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer,” he told Fox News. “It was high months ago. He finally obtained biopsies. They revealed two cancerous areas. He is undergoing further testing.”

The 58-year-old Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year sentence for attempting to orchestrate a murder-for-hire plot intended to kill Carole Baskin, a longtime rival, who is also featured in Netflix’s Tiger King series. Baskin is the founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Prosecutors said Maldonado-Passage shelled out $3,000 back in 2017 to have Baskin killed. He was also convicted of falsifying records of wildlife violations, which included the killing of five tigers and selling young cubs.

He has long maintained he his innocence in the case while simultaneously accusing Baskin of murdering her husband, Don Lewis, in 1997. She also has denied those accusations.

Joe Exotic’s transfer also coincidentally coincided with the drop of Tiger King’s second season on Netflix. He appears in the show from behind bars, where he continues his ongoing campaign for freedom.

- By Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News