BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When is a mascot, more? Well, when he's Mike the Tiger.
Born Roscoe, the Bengal-Siberian tiger mix took up the mantel that five other tigers held before him as the living, breathing representation of the LSU spirit in 2007.
"He's beautiful, he's personality is amazing, he interacts with people," said LSU alum Sheila Joyner.
Dubbed Mike VI, many consider him to be special among the Mikes. He watched the Tigers bring home a national championship in football. There's the man only known as the tiger whisperer, who became a campus legend for his playful connection to the big cat.
Then there are the pint-sized fans, who took every chance to say hello.
So, when Mike got sick, the diagnosis hit fans hard. For some the prognosis was personal. Joyner is a five-time cancer survivor.
"It's like your relative had cancer," Joyner said. "I just feel like he's part of our family. Everybody in Baton Rouge and everyone everywhere feels like that tiger is family."
Notes of love and support hang from Mike's habitat, which sits still and somber without the 420-pound tiger lounging around.
The Euges sisters stopped by to say a prayer.
"We just wanted to come and be closer to Mike," said 8-year-old Caitline.
After all, for fans Mike is more than a mascot, he's family.
"We're all Tigers," Joyner said.
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