World-Famous 'Cat Man' Dennis Avner May Have Taken His Own Life

Dennis Avner, the world-record holder for most body modifications who was better known by his Native American name "Stalking Cat," passed away last Monday, November 5th, in his hometown of Tonopah, Nevada.

Though a cause of death hasn't been officially released, it is believed the 54-year-old took his own life.

Shannon Larratt of BME's ModBlog penned the following obituary for the former US Navy sonar technician who spent a lifetime transforming himself into his spirit animal:

This morning's post comes with heavy news, and I'm in the terrible position of reporting the death of body modification icon Dennis Avner, often better known as Stalking Cat or just Tiger. A US Navy vet more recently working as a programmer and technician, Dennis identified strongly with his feline totem animals and in what he told me was a Huron traditional of actually adopting the physical form of ones totem, he transformed himself not just into a tiger, but a female tiger at that, blurring and exploring the gender line as much as the species line. Much of his work had been done by body modification pioneer Steve Haworth, who rebuilt Dennis's ears, lip, nose, and face to resemble a tiger, including a multitude of transdermals that held artificial whiskers. In addition to being almost completely covered in tattoos, he'd also sculpted his face and body with extensive silicone work, had custom teeth built to emulate his inner nature, and regularly wore contact lenses and an artificial robotic tail.

According to Larratt, Cat would often say he "found fame, but never fortune." Those who knew him describe a kind and gentle man, though "at times as troubled as he was remarkable."

A memorial website has been set up at GoneTooSoon for those wishing to pay their respects.

[H/T: Arbroath, photo via AP]