Wrestling is known to be a very violent sport, but many people don’t know that it can also be tragic. The amount of professional wrestlers to die young is truly is staggering, whether it be inside the ring, or outside for other reasons. In some ways, it’s amazing that a national investigation into wrestling in general, hasn’t been launched yet, but only time will tell if that will happen.
In some other ways though, it’s not hard to see why wrestling is a dangerous sport. Wrestlers spend nearly every day, either on the road or on an airplane, traveling only to take a beating in the ring, almost every night. This isn’t exactly a healthy lifestyle, and it certainly isn’t as healthy as some other sports that we watch for entertainment. Wrestling is brutal, remorseless and long. Every wrestler spends their entire life wrestling in the ring, until their body simply can’t take it anymore. At that point, they either decide to retire and live the rest of their life peacefully, while others continue, only to encounter severe injuries, or an even worse fate. Other wrestlers died not because of the effects of the ring, but for other reasons, as we shall see.
Many wrestlers have died either inside or outside the ring, and while all are certainly tragic; none are as notable, or as terrible, as the ten that we will look at in this article. As you read about the explanations for the death of these wrestlers, you’ll have to ask yourself what the cause of their deaths really were, going beyond what was simply said in the news.
10. Chris Candido
Chris Candido had a disappointing wrestling run (excluding his early years in WWE), but starting in 2005, he began to redeem himself, after wrestling at TNA. Not only was Candido finding success in the wrestling world, but he was in his personal life as well, having recovered from a previous addiction to drugs and alcohol. However, he broke his leg during a cage match that turned into a blood clot, which sadly killed him at the young age of thirty three.
9. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero was discovered dead in his hotel room in 2005, in Minneapolis. He was pronounced to be dead on the scene, but according to his wife, he hadn’t been feeling very well for the whole week. It was later revealed that Guerrero had died of a heart disease, which came as a shock to many in the wrestling world.
8. Bruiser Brody
While in Puerto Rico for a match, Brody was called into the showers by another wrestler to talk. It’s unclear what happened next, but the witnesses who were also in the locker room, claim that they heard a fight in the shower area. One of the witnesses rushed over, only to find Brody slumped over, covered in his own blood, while the other wrestler just stood there holding a knife. Brody was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. He died on the way over, but told the people in the van to tell his wife and child that he loved both of them.
7. Brian Pillman
Brian Pillman was scheduled to fight in the fall of 1997, at a WWE Pay Per View Event, but when he didn’t show up, the police broke into his hotel, where he was found dead. It was later discovered that Pillman died of heart disease at the young age of thirty five. Vince McMahon announced his death on the show, later that night.
6. Dino Bravo
When Dino Bravo retired from professional wrestling in 1992, it was thought he would be out of the spotlight forever. But that wasn’t true; one year later in 1993, it was discovered that Bravo had been killed by seventeen gunshots in his home, while he was watching TV. To this day, it is inconclusive as to who fired the fatal shots, but it is known that Bravo was involved in organized crime by smuggling drugs and cigarettes, so it is probable that someone else in the organized crime world was the one who tragically put an end to one of WWE’s finest wrestlers.
5. Chris Benoit
In June 2007, Chris Benoit and his wife and son were unseen for days. When Police finally found them in their home, they were discovered dead. It is believed that Benoit had strangled his wife Nancy and son Daniel, over the course of three days, and then hung himself after committing the murders. Benoit was known to suffer from mental illnesses, but none believed that it was as serious as it was.
4. The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior was a WWE wrestling legend, but died at the age of 54, on April 8, 2014, only three days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He reportedly grabbed his chest and collapsed next to his wife, just outside of a hotel. An ambulance was called and immediately rushed him to the hospital, but nothing could be done. It was revealed that he died of a heart attack, most likely caused by cardiovascular disease, and many of his friends and witnesses reported that he sweated and breathed heavily in the final days before his death. His death is one of the most recent tragedies for WWE.
3. Randy Savage
Similar to The Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage also died of a heart attack, only three years earlier, in May of 2011. He was driving with his wife when he suffered a heart attack, causing the vehicle to swerve and crash into a tree. Although his wife suffered no injuries as a result of the accident, Savage was declared to be dead at the scene. It was revealed later that he had died of a heart attack, due to a cardiovascular disease that he had no knowledge about, so there is most likely nothing Savage or anyone could have done to have prevented his death from happening. Despite being enemies since the mid-1990s, Vince McMahon paid tribute to Savage (albeit a week after his death) and noted him as one of the greatest wrestler’s in WWE history. Savage was subsequently included into the WWE Hall of Fame, and it is likely that he will be forever remembered as one of the wrestling greats.
2. Owen Hart
Owen Hart was preparing for a match in May of 1999, by planning an extravagant entry into the arena, by being lowered into the ring by a harness. Unfortunately, the harness snapped and Owen fell down, eighty feet from where he was, landing on the rope of the ring and then onto the canvas. Hart himself was very cautious about performing the stunt, and some say he only fell through with it, at the very last moment. Hart’s fall was caught on live TV, but the aftermath of the accident was not.
1. Andre the Giant
Andre the Giant is one of the most beloved figures in WWE and wrestling history, but was also famous outside of the wrestling world for his acting role in the classic film, The Princess Bride. He was particularly known for having a gentle and tender nature, despite his sheer size (seven and a half feet and five hundred and fifty pounds). However, he was in ill health in early 1993, while attending the funeral of his father in Paris. He passed away in his sleep. News of Andre’s death shook the wrestling world, and put many wrestling fans into days, or even weeks of mourning.