The famous WWE wrestlers who died young. Now that’s a solemn topic you don’t see every day.
Although the WWE program has attempted to reduce the death of wrestlers caused by heart-related diseases, statistics still say that compared to other athletes, the proportion of wrestlers who die young is greater.
Some researchers explain the observed high mortality rate among wrestlers. Unlike in most other sports, wrestlers encounter numerous “small blows” during their matches. These frequent blows are capable of triggering fatal internal injuries in the performer.
Also, as rightly observed by the media, wrestlers usually do not get offseasons to rest and put their bodies in shape. This causes them to become very dependent on hard drugs that may sooner than later bring these dear sportsmen closer to their ends.
In this post, I’ll be taking you on an exposition through a list of top ten wrestlers none older than 45 years who, for various reasons peculiar to their job, have “walked off the ring never to return.
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Top WWE Wrestlers Who Died Way Too Young
Probably the most tragic death, and the most recent on our list of famous WWE wrestlers who died young. Shad Gaspard was having some father-son time swimming at the ocean when he and his son, along with several other swimmers, got pulled farther into the ocean by a particularly dangerous rip current.
Lifeguards came to the rescue soon enough, but Gaspard being the loving father that he was, had the lifeguards save his ten-year-old son first. Before the guards could come back for him, another powerful wave hit, pulling Gaspard further into the ocean where he disappeared. His body washed up four days later, and Shad Gaspard was confirmed dead on the 20th of May 2020 at the age of 39.
Curtis Michael Hennig
Another WWE Wrestler who died young was Curt Hennig. Also known as Mr. Perfect, and the father of Joseph Curtis Hennig with the ring name Curt Axel. Curtis Hennig was secretly battling with drug addiction throughout his career.
With only rumors floating around about his addiction at the time, it is unclear if he was ever willing to seek for help. His addiction finally got the better of him, and he was found dead in his hotel room from what the ME called acute cocaine intoxication. He was 44 years old at the time of his death and was the reigning POW Heavyweight Champion.
Eddie Guerrero was no doubt a great wrestler, one of the very best at the time. He just knew how to bring out the best in every match he waAfter being dropped by the WWF in 2001 he was back a year later and went on to win the WWE Championship in 2004. One year later, he was found lying on the floor of his hotel room unconscious with his toothbrush still in his hand and died moments later from heart failure as a result of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease that he never knew he had. He was 38 years old when he died, and was buried at a cemetery in Arizona called Greenwood Memorial.
Raymond Ray Washington Traylor
Another WWE superstar who died way too early was Ray Traylor, who was popular with the ring name Big Boss Man. Big Boss Man was part of Vince McMahon’s stable alongside Gerald Brisco, Shane McMahon, Pat Petterson and The Rock. His feud with Big Show was one of the best in WWE’s history, but his life was cut short at his sister’s house. One minute he was fine and on the couch where his wife left him to check on the kids who were playing upstairs, when she came back a short while later he was already dead. It was later reported that he had a massive heart attack and died at the age of 41.
With 22 championships across four wrestling promotions, Christopher Micheal Benoit was at the peak of his wrestling career and he was already one of the greatest wrestlers ever. He was World Champion with the ECW and the WWE and was already tipped to win a second WWE Championship.
When he never showed up for a whole weekend of events with the WWE, they sent the police to his house for a welfare check where they discovered the dead bodies of Benoit, his wife Nancy, and their seven-year-old son Daniel. The police later reported that Benoit had drugged and murdered his wife and son before hanging himself.
The medical examiners also reported that Benoit was suffering from brain damage and dementia caused by severe concussions which may have been the cause of the double murder suicide tragedy. He was 40 years old at the time of his death, with the WWE doing everything they can to erase his name from their records.
Another WWE wrestler that died young was Owen Hart, and to think his death could have been avoided. The WWF planned to make a flying entrance for Owen Hart where he was to be lowered into the ring using a harness from the rafters of the arena.
Hart had successfully performed several stunts, that were very similar to this one. Yet this particular harness had a quick release feature that triggered way too early, and Hart dropped from 78 feet landing with his chest on the top rope which then catapulted him into the ring with him lying flat on his back.
Landing on his chest severed his aorta, filling his lungs with blood. He died almost instantly at the age of 34. Four weeks later his family sued the WWF and got an 18 million dollar settlement.
Edward Smith Fatui
Eddie Fatu with the ring name Umaga was a member of the renowned Anoa’i family. As Umaga he was a two time WWE Intercontinental Champion, and was also a beast in the ring going undefeated for several months in a row.
He was found unconscious on the floor of his home in Texas by his wife with blood coming out of his nose. He was rushed to the hospital where he eventually died. The medical examiner reports found a few drugs in his blood plus heart and liver diseases, but concluded that he died of a fatal heart attack that may have been triggered by the combination of drugs he was taking along with his underlying disease.
The Anoa’i family has produced some of the greatest wrestlers to ever Grace the WWE. However they have also lost a number of these incredible WWE stars to early death. Rodney Anoa’i was known as Yokozuna during his time with the WWF. He was a two time Tag Team Champion and a two time World Heavyweight Champion and won the 1993 Royal Rumble.
He was found dead in his hotel room in Liverpool where he was on an independent wrestling tour. It was later discovered that he died of a Pulmonary Edema at the age of 34.
Kerry Von Erich
Winning 40 Championships across several wrestling promotions including a WWF Intercontinental Championship, Kerry Von Erich was also one of the top wrestlers of that time.
But things went sideways when he was involved in a Motorcycle accident that eventually led to the amputation of his leg.
He kept his amputation a secret and was still able to perform in the ring using a prosthetic leg. He later developed an addiction to painkillers and got himself arrested and put on probation. He got arrested a second time, and was probably going to do prison time for breaking probation which led to him shooting himself in the heart with a pistol at the age of 33.
Richard Erwin Rood
Rick Rude was without a doubt the greatest heel the WWE ever had. No wrestler has ever come close to pissing off the crowd like he did. He had a great body, and he used it to portray the arrogant sexy womanizer riling up the crowd almost every time.
Yet outside the ring, he was an entirely different person; a family man who was utterly devoted to his wife and kids. It was rather unfortunate that his career had to be cut short due to a neck injury. He died at the age of 40 as a result of heart failure.
They will always be missed
It’s really sad losing these WWE legends at such a young age. One can only wonder what could have been if all of these wrestlers were still alive. WWE would undoubtedly be a lot more interesting.