Michael Jackson's Tiger 'Thriller' Dies of Lung Cancer

The King of Pop Michael Jackson's tiger named "Thriller" has died of lung cancer at a wildlife preserve in California earlier in June.

The tiger belonged to Jackson when he lived at his Neverland ranch, but was more recently kept at a wildlife preserve owned by actress-activist Tippi Hedren. Thriller was 13 years old and has since been cremated, and it is planned that the ashes will be buried in a section of the preserve reserved for animals when they die.

Thriller was born in 1998 and lived with the King of Pop until May 4, 2006 when Jackson decided to leave his Neverland ranch. Hedren, who owns the Shambala Preserve in Acton near Los Angeles, was asked whether she could care for the tiger and her brother Sabu. She accepted and a $79,000 area was created near a lake in the preserve where Thriller lived out the rest of her life.

Hendren has said, "Thriller was a real piece of work, one gutsy girl. She ruled Sabu's life. It was humorous to watch the whole relationship. She did things to him that male tigers would normally never allow. She would steal food from him. That's unheard of. She ruled the roost, was very independent and tough," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

She added, "It's very hard for all of us when these animals go away. Fortunately for Sabu and Thriller, they came in healthy and content. They had no problem with being in quarantine for 30 days. They adjusted so well."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hendren has said that although Jackson was known for his love of animals he never once called to ask how the tigers were and never sent any money to help for their upkeep. She even said the preserve's staff had previously sent photos, T-Shirts and other memorabilia of Thriller and Sabu to Jackson's children but they never responded.