Back in May, LSU announced that Mike VI, LSU’s live on-campus tiger mascot, was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma. Initial reports said that Mike could live for up to two more years with the cancer, but today it was announced that the results from an October 3rd checkup revealed that the cancer has spread to his lungs and to his legs, as well as worsening in his head. The growth of the cancer has began to block his sinuses and tear ducts, which will eventually lead to more severe complications.
By Mike’s Vet Dr. Davis Baker, Mike VI only has one to two more months to live. However, if Mike begins to show signs of pain or discomfort, he will be euthanized. LSU plans to keep him open to the public to allow the LSU community to pay respects to Mike and say their goodbye to LSU’s beloved tiger mascot.
LSU has already began the process of finding the next Mike and says it took three months for the school to find a Mike VI. The new Mike will be a young tiger picked from a rescue facility.
The athletic department has handled all of Mike’s medical costs. LSU has not ruled out a funeral service for Mike once he passes.
Mike is 11 years old and before the cancer diagnosis was weighed at 420 pounds, which is abnormally large for a tiger his age. Mike has also outlived the average life expectancy for a wild tiger, which usually caps out at around 10 years.
Mike VI (originally Roscoe) arrived in Baton Rouge from Great Cats of Indiana, a large cat reserve in Idaville, Indiana on August 25th, 2007, but was not officially announced as Mike on September 8th. Mike was supposed to make his debut across the street on September 22nd against South Carolina, but the combined experience of a day and rainy game was seen as too much for the young tiger. Mike VI made his first trip to Death Valley for the Florida game that year, which only adds to the lore of that game. Mike VI was kind of infamous for not showing up to football games, but his vets refused to force the tiger into the trailer for games.
Under Mike VI’s reign, LSU has seen four national championships, two SEC football championships, five SEC baseball championships, four College World Series appearances, two NCAA basketball tournament appearances, and touched the hearts of a million LSU fans.