‘Tiger King’s’ Joe Exotic reportedly refuses treatment for cancer that may have spread

A man with blond hair in an all-white outfit sitting on a ledge by tiger cages
Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage, pictured in 2013, has reportedly refused treatment for his prostate cancer.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

Joe Exotic, the controversial star of Netflix’s “Tiger King,” is reportedly not seeking any treatment for his prostate cancer, more than a year after his diagnosis.

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, said in a letter obtained by TMZ that his cancer has worsened and that his doctors believe it has spread to his bladder.

According TMZ, the television star has had “a lot of blood in his urine” and experienced “a lot” of bleeding during his prostate cancer treatments.


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Imprisoned at the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth in Texas, the 59-year-old Exotic reportedly said he’ll pass on treatment despite his medical team’s desire to conduct more tests.

“I want to stay here and just let it take its course,” Exotic wrote, according to TMZ.

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The former zookeeper, who gained popularity in the early-pandemic Netflix docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” was convicted in 2019 on federal charges of animal cruelty and murder-for-hire against rival Carole Baskin.

In January 2022, a federal judge reduced Exotic’s sentence from 22 years to 21 years despite his pleas for leniency because of his cancer diagnosis.

In November 2021, Exotic wrote in a letter shared with The Times that he was diagnosed with “an aggressive” cancer, but wasn’t seeking any support.

“Right now, I don’t want anyone’s pitty [sic],” he wrote.