A man who spent years modifying his face and body to look like a cat has died in an apparent suicide.
Daniel Avner, who was better known as Stalking Cat, was found dead in his Nevada home last week.
A blog post by his friend Shannon Larratt, the former editor and publisher of BMEzine said the 54-year-old had taken his own life.
The US Navy veteran underwent a series of surgical body modification procedures to make him look like a female cat.
Descended from Native Americans, Avner began his modification after a chief told him to “follow the ways of the tiger.” He subsequently went by his Native American name, Stalking Cat.
On his now defunct website, Avner said: “I am Huron and following a very old tradition have transformed myself into a tiger.”
Over the years Avner underwent a series of operations to alter his appearance, including bifurcation (the splitting of his upper lip), surgical ear pointing, silicone cheek and forehead implants, tooth sharpening and facial tattoos and piercings. He also grew and painted his fingernails to look like claws.
Despite his unusual appearance Avner maintained his job as a computer programmer, although he often made television appearances and starred in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! shows.
In her blog post, Ms Larratt described Avner as: 'a wonderful and complex person, he was at times as troubled as he was remarkable, and he recently took his own life at the age of 54.'