© Medical Daily
Dennis Avner, known as "Cat Man", the Nevada native who spent years trying to morph his body into that of a cat died earlier this month at the age of 54 under unclear circumstances.
Avner, who holds the world record for body modifications, had undergone numerous tattoos, piercings and other cosmetic surgical procedures to look like a female cat.
The veteran of the U.S. Navy, who also had whiskers, cat ears and a mechanical tail, was found dead on Nov.5 in his home located in Tonopah, Nevada.
Avner, who likes to go by his Native American name "Stalking Cat", had become famous for morphing his face to resemble a tiger.
"I am Huron and following a very old tradition have transformed myself into a tiger," he said on his now-defunct website.
He had reportedly felt inspired after a discussion with a Native American chief told him to "follow the ways of the tiger."
Avner had undergone thousands of dollars worth of cosmetic surgeries including bifurcation or splitting of his upper lip, surgical pointing of the ears, silicone cheek and forehead implants, tooth filing, tattoos, and facial piercing.
The cause of Avner's death has not been revealed, and some believe that he may have killed himself.
Shannon Larratt, the former editor and publisher of BMEzine who knew Stalking Cat, wrote a blog post saying that Avner tried to adopt the spiritual essence of the animal world.
He wanted to transform "himself not just into a tiger, but a female tiger at that, blurring and exploring the gender line as much as the species line."
Despite his unusual appearance, Avner worked as a computer programmer, although he often starred in Ripley's Believe It or Not!
as well as in events around the world.
"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," Larratt wrote.