Monty Krizan, better known as "The Lizard King" of the Minnesota State Fair, has died.
"The Minnesota State Fair is saddened by the recent passing of legendary State Fair exhibitor Monty Krizan, of Monty’s Traveling Reptile Show," State Fair officials said in a statement to BMTN.
"Since 1980, Mr. Krizan has educated and thrilled fair guests with his one-of-a-kind display of reptiles from around the world."
State Fair Deputy General Manager Jim Sinclair added: “Monty was an ardent supporter of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, passionate about the environment and loved to share his own collection and vast knowledge of numerous reptiles. It has been an honor to have worked with Monty for nearly 40 years.”
Not only was Monty's Traveling Reptile Show a hit with kids and adults, Krizan himself was a must-have guest for local TV and radio stations.
KFAN's Dan Barreiro tweeted that he's "devastated" by the news and that the State Fair has lost a "great one."
It's highly likely that Barreiro will pay tribute to Krizan on Monday (3-6:30 p.m.) during his popular "Ode to a Dead Guy" segment.
Twin Cities chef and TV star Andrew Zimmern reacted, saying The Lizard King gave millions of people great memories and it's sad to see another "heritage" act go.
But while Monty is gone, his legacy could well live on.
State Fair officials tell BMTN that they will soon begin discussions with Krizan's staff about continuing as a "major State Fair attraction."