The former zookeeper known as Joe Exotic, the star of “Tiger King” who is serving prison time in a murder-for-hire plot, said Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
“Doctors called me in today to break the news that my prostate biopsy came back with an aggressive cancer, Carole Will have her own party over this! Say a prayer everyone & be my voice love,” Joseph Maldonado-Passage, wrote in a tweet.
“What I need is the world to be my voice to be released,” he wrote in a letter dated Oct. 27 and addressed to “everyone.”
A photo of the letter accompanied the tweet.
“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 time I have left with my loved ones,” Maldonado-Passage wrote.
His attorney, John M. Phillips, said he could confirm Maldonado-Passage’s diagnosis.
“He and I spoke Monday with both of us in tears at a point. He needs freedom by so many definitions and we are diligent working towards that,” Phillips tweeted.
Maldonado-Passage was found guilty of twice hiring people to kill Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist and critic of his exotic animal park in Oklahoma who had successfully sued the business. He was also convicted of violating federal wildlife laws, including charges related to the killing of five tigers.
“Tiger King,” on Netflix, followed the drama between Baskin and Maldonado-Passage.
In the series, Exotic repeatedly suggested that Baskin murdered her second husband, who went missing in 1997, a claim she has vigorously and repeatedly denied. The couple had started her wildlife sanctuary Big Cat Rescue in Florida.
On Monday, Baskin filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to halt the rollout of the show’s second season later this month.
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.