There’s something ominous when looking back at photos of people who used to be with us but no longer are. Even photos that at one time were precious moments and memories can take on a whole new feel when you realize that the background story to the photo tells a lot about how someone passed away.
Sometimes, photos are taken moments before someone’s passing and those photos represent the last time you’ll ever see those people alive. Sometimes, a photo just speaks to you in ways that you didn’t notice under different circumstances. In some cases, a picture gives you clarity or creeps you the heck out.
Within the wrestling industry, these photos are everywhere; in part, because so many wrestlers have passed before their time. Early deaths due to drugs and alcohol or in-ring accidents can mean that any moment to capture a photo is a good one simply because you never quite know if it’s going to be the last.
Below are 15 photos of wrestlers who have passed away, and these photos will give you the chills. Some were taken just before these talents left this world and some were taken well prior, but speak loudly as to what might have gone wrong.
There are so many wrestling-related deaths that we couldn’t capture them all, but these are 15 of the photos that, the more we thought about it, the more they crept us out. What do you think? Who’d we miss and do you have any photos you would have added? Share and leave your comments below.
15. Randy Savage
This photo isn’t so much creepy as it is sad. It’s a touching moment between brothers and a mother not long before Randy Savage fatally passed away in a car accident. He had an enlarged heart and died of a heart attack even though he had no previous knowledge of heart issues.
After he passed, Savage’s remains were cremated and placed under a favorite tree on his property in Largo, Florida, near his mother’s development. Oddly, just ten days before his death, he had asked his brother to pour the ashes of his dog in the same spot. It’s not as though he could have possibly foreseen his future, but the fact that he was discussing death with his mother and brother makes this photo just a touch creepy.
14. Matt Osbourne (Doink)
As if clowns aren’t creepy enough, Matt Osbourne did a wonderful job of taking a gimmick that was doomed for failure and turn it into one of the WWE’s most iconic characters. Doink crept everyone out until he became a babyface in the WWE. But right after that, he was released for substance abuse issues.
In 2013, Osbourne was found dead from an accidental overdose of morphine and hydrocodone. He also had a history of heart disease and that could have played a factor. Just taking a look at the face of Doink in this photo makes you realize why Osbourne was able to make that character a success. He had that aura of evil, disturb, and seriousness about him that made you wonder what he was thinking.
13. Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior died two days after his appearance at WrestleMania XXX and one day after he spoke on Raw in a speech that felt an awful lot like a eulogy. According to reports, Warrior clutched his chest and collapsed at 5:50 p.m. while walking to his car with his wife outside of their hotel in Arizona. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at age 54.
As you can see from this photo as he stood on stage at WrestleMania, he was saluting the fans but holding his chest. Then, the next night on Raw, his speech read, “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath… I am the Ultimate Warrior, you are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever.” Less than 24 hours later, he passed away.
12. Chris Benoit
The ending of Chris Benoit‘s life and the lives of his family was tragic and disturbing. It was so bad, the WWE chose to erase his memory from the history books, and any reference to him on WWE video and in WWE chronicles were removed.
On June 25, 2007, Chris and his family were found dead in his home after he no-showed a WWE pay-per-view. In what was described as a murder/suicide, it’s hard to envision someone who looks so loving with his family in this photo doing the unspeakable things Benoit did. Benoit always had a cold demeanor about him, but clearly, you can see a happier Benoit with his wife and child. To say the least, he was not in his right mind when he ended all three lives, and it forced sports and the WWE to really take a closer look at post-concussion issues along with drug abuse.
Chyna passed away on April 20, 2016 in her home at the age of 46. Just days before, she posted a video on YouTube wishing everyone a fantastic day, but clearly, she was anything but well. She was in the midst of working on a film documentary about her life and comeback but all the while, she was under severe anxiety.
Chyna’s final years and months were a mess. She spiraled out of control and looked for any way of both making money and staying in the limelight. It wasn’t pretty and eventually, the pressure of not being successful was too much for her to handle. She passed away far too young, but not all surprisingly. You could see her death coming a mile away and the fact that she didn’t have (or wasn’t willing to accept) more help is still shocking.
10. Owen Hart
When Owen Hart died, there were so many stories of that fateful night that it’s difficult to summarize what really happened. There are sides of the incident that report Owen was asked to propel from the rafters and that he wasn’t comfortable with it. There are also other sides that Owen was concerned about the length of time it would take to get the harness off once he’d entered the ring, but that he had no concerns with the actual stunt itself.
All we really know is when Owen tried the stunt, it failed and he fell to his death. Referee Jimmy Korderas has said that he heard yelling which he believed was Owen telling him to move so he wouldn’t fall on him and hurt two people. It’s possible that while losing his own life, Owen Hart saved someone else’s. Considering the type of guy Owen was, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
9. Roddy Piper
This photo of Roddy Piper has nothing to do with his untimely death, but it does show a “Hot Rod” who was playing the part of a dejected paraplegic widower in the film Clear Lake. And in many ways, this photo is ironic because Piper had struggled with depression and other issues that were not healthy.
While it appeared that better days were ahead for Piper, he died of a heart attack triggered by a blood clot in his lungs. He had a history of high blood pressure and hypertension. Piper made a number of appearances for the WWE even after retiring, but on Legend’s House on the WWE Network, it was clear that Roddy struggled with a number of issues. It was, in many ways, a sad story and he truly was one of the great heel wrestlers in WWE history.
8. Perro Aguayo Jr.
Perro Aguayo Jr., one of the biggest stars in Mexican pro wrestling, died during a match in Tijuana. He was 35.
Aguayo was on the receiving end of a low dropkick to the back from Rey Mysterio Jr. and fell into the ropes to set up Mysterio’s 619 finishing maneuver. Wrestler Manik also fell into the ropes to set up a double 619 move, and it was that falling that made the ropes whiplash into Aguayo, breaking his neck. The match quickly ended and Aguayo was rushed to the Hospital del Prado in Tijuana, where the initial cause of death was reported as cervical spine trauma.
The worst part about the whole thing is that the video in which wrestlers like Konnan (who didn’t know Aguayo had passed) was dragging his body around the apron and shaking Aguayo trying to revive him. If for some reason he had still been alive at that point, the damage done after that would have been irreversible.
Chris Benoit’s wife–first seen on this list in a photo above and known in the wrestling industry as Woman–was also the significant other of Kevin Sullivan before she got together with Benoit. Sullivan has been known around the wrestling industry as a bit of a nutjob, and there are conspiracy theories that Sullivan was behind the deaths of the Benoit family.
We definitely won’t go so far as to suggest that, but this picture is creepy enough. When you combine the choke, the look on her face, a creepy Kevin Sullivan, and how she eventually died, this photo doesn’t make you feel good about that whole Benoit-Sullivan dynamic in the least.
6. Big Boss Man
The Big Boss Man (real name Ray Traylor) died of a heart attack on September 22, 2004 at the age of 41 in his home in Dallas, Georgia. He was known as both a babyface and a heel character in the WWE and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
This picture was taken at a time in which he was feuding with The Undertaker in his final run as a WWE Superstar. Boss Man had made a resurgence of sorts with his career and in a Hell in a Cell match, the company got in some trouble for taking the finish a bit too far. Hanging Boss Man in the ring by a noose, they gave the appearance that The Undertaker was trying to end his life.
5. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero was a legend in wrestling who never reached the greatest heights he could have. He was that underrated. What’s chilling about Eddie’s death is not just that it was so sudden and surprising, but on Nov 11, 2005, we last saw Eddie wrestle. He then did a backstage segment with Batista where he portrayed a highly emotional wrestler dealing with concussion issues. An autopsy revealed that Guerrero died as a result of acute heart failure due to underlying atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease just days later.
This photo shows a very somber-looking Guerrero which was odd because he was widely known as a man who loved everyone and everything about life. Always happy and jokingly personable, Eddie’s persona in the ring often matched his personality. This photo shows a very different-looking Eddie.
The issue with this picture is that it foreshadowed Umaga’s future. On December 4, 2009, Umaga was found unresponsive with blood coming from his nose and was rushed to a hospital. He had suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at around 5:00 pm Central Time. The death has been attributed to a drug overdose.
Umaga had been released not terribly long before this due to two violations of the WWE’s Wellness Policy. After his second suspension, he refused to seek treatment and enter a rehabilitation program. People were aware of Umaga’s issues, and this picture shows how little it seemed to matter to a lot of people, including Mr. Kennedy, as he cheers Umaga on while he chugs an entire bottle of vodka. Umaga partied hard, and it eventually killed him.
Kanyon was a WCW and WWE Superstar who was known as one of the better technical wrestlers in the industry. But, he also had severe mental struggles and made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Often suicidal, he sought attention for his issues and got himself in a lot of trouble outside the ring. He tried to sue the WWE and then took it back, claiming that he was just trying to get noticed again.
Kanyon had been suffering from bipolar disorder, and he threatened suicide in the weeks prior to his death. On April 2, 2010, his brother found him dead in his Sunnyside, Queens, New York apartment with an empty bottle of anti-depressants and a note he left behind apologizing to his family. This mugshot of Kanyon shows a very depressed and struggling individual.
2. Andre The Giant
You would never know it from this photo, but Andre the Giant was known as one of the kindest, most gentle people you would ever meet in the wrestling industry. He could put you in your place if he wanted to. But if he liked you, you knew it, and if he approved of you, you knew that too.
Andre died in his sleep of congestive heart failure on the night of January 27, 1993 in a Paris hotel room. What’s kind of creepy is that he was found by his chauffeur after arriving in Paris to attend his father’s funeral. Andre could scare the living daylights out of you and this picture shows why he made such an effective bad guy to go up against Hulk Hogan.
1. Jimmy Snuka
Take a look at the eyes of this man and tell us that he doesn’t look like a person who could snap and end someone’s life. When Jimmy Snuka passed away, he had just come out of a pending trial that didn’t happen because he was deemed unfit to stand trial. It was a charge for the murder of his then-girlfriend back in the 1980’s, and there were rumors that the WWE knew more than they led on and partially covered up the crime.
None of this was ever proven and Snuka was never charged, nor did he serve time in jail for any crime. However, this photo makes you wonder what really happened that night. His girlfriend was ruled to have died from blunt-force trauma to the back of the head.
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