When you look at the wrestlers of the WWE, their muscles and ability to perform incredible maneuvers most likely make you think they’re in great shape. Unfortunately, over the years, many of these entertainers have died at a relatively early age. Whether from drugs, health issues, accidents or even suspicious circumstances, the passing of these WWE personalities caught everyone off guard and definitely shocked the world.
In October 1997, Brian Pillman was scheduled to face off against Dude Love but he never showed up. Where was the man who had gained fame, thanks to his feud with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin? When the WWE higher-ups called the hotel Pillman was staying at, they were informed that the maids had discovered his body. At only 35 years of age, his death came as a shock. What was more shocking was that Pillman had died of a heart attack due to heart disease that even he hadn’t known about.
In a form of entertainment that is only recently incorporated women on a significant scale, it’s easy to forget that even before it was officially the WWE, wrestling had some memorable and very important female characters. Take Elizabeth Hulette aka Miss Elizabeth for example. She was a key part of Randy savages whole storyline and a central figure of the WWF for many years. While she eventually faded from the WWE, fans were shocked to learn that on May 1, 2003, she had died as a result of taking a deadly mixture of pills and alcohol.
Also known as Skip, Chris Candido’s time in the WWE was relatively short. Nonetheless he had a devoted fan base who followed his wrestling team the Bodydonna’s. After leaving, his career kind of fizzled but received a new boost from TNA wrestling in 2005. Unfortunately, just a few months into his new gig, he suffered a broken tibia and fibula. A few days later, he fell ill and his condition worsen. Diagnosed with pneumonia, the wrestling world was shocked to learn that he later died from or ended up being a blood clot.
Definitely one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time, Eddie Guerrero wrestled in Mexico in Japan before coming to the WWE in 2000. He became best known as a part of the radicals and for Latino heat. In November 2005 fans, were stunned to learn that Guerrero had died. He was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Minneapolis after an apparent heart attack. Despite being in great physical shape, Guerrero had been unwell in the days leading up to his death. Speculation afterwards linked his death to steroid abuse.
From 1985 to 1992, Adolfo Bresciano was a central figure in the WWF and WWE. Fans new and better as Dino Bravo. Often playing the dislikable villain, Bravo and his teammates were known as experts in working at the crowd for sheer arrogance, and insults. Love him or hate him, he was important in wrestling’s golden era. Shockingly, not long after his retirement in the WWE, Bravo was found dead in his Montreal home. He had been shot many times, in a murder many believed was linked to organized crime.
Andre the Giant
If you watched any wrestling from the 1970’s to the 1990’s or seen the classic film The Princess Bride, and you’re more than familiar with Andre the Giant. Born gigantism, Andre grew to ignore size something which are capitalized on in the ring. Despite often playing the bad guy, Andre as actually friendly, well-liked and note the party. In the early 90’s, his appearances became few and far between. In January 1993, fans were shocked to learn that he had passed away in his sleep while in Paris France to attend his father’s funeral.
The Ultimate Warrior
James Hellwig is probably one of the most memorable WWE personalities. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s Hellwig dressed in tassels, painted his face and let his hair go wild in order to embrace the personality that we all knew as the ultimate warrior. From April 5th to 7th 2005, Hellwig took part in various WWE events and even made one last appearance on Raw. Viewers could easily see he didn’t look good and was sweating profusely. On April 8, 2014, fans were saddened to hear the ultimate warrior had died from a heart attack.
Flamboyant, sometimes good, sometimes bad, Macho Man Randy Savage was definitely a memorable character. In fact, during the 1980’s and 1990’s, you could find kids everywhere pretending to be him. He was a great wrestler, had some fantastic storylines, was unpredictable and had the best promo work. Complaining that he wasn’t feeling well, in May 2011, Savage suffered a heart attack brought on by coronary artery disease while driving his Jeep. It’s all the more sad given that it was eight years to the month that is one time real-life wife and wrestling manager Miss Elizabeth had passed away.
What made the death of Chris Benoit was so shocking to everyone is that it involved more than just the death of a wrestler. In June 2007, police found Benoit’s body in the basement of his Atlanta home. The forty-year-old hanged himself but not before killing his wife and son. Would have caused them to do it? Theories range from steroid abuse to damage caused by years of head trauma. In any instance, this disturbing death caught everyone off guard and raised many questions about the dangers of massive head trauma in conjunction with steroid abuse.
This legendary wrestler was a prominent character of the WWE for two decades. Through its golden era, Hart wrestled the biggest names was involved in some of the best storylines and made fans cheer or boo depending on his role at the time. In May 1999, while being lowered into the ring on a grapple line, Hart fell nearly 80 feet in front of a stunned audience. Attempts to revive the 34-year old proved futile.