Working out on a regular basis can do wonders for your health and lead to a longer, happier life. Unfortunately, sport did not help the following WWE wrestlers who died when they were still young.
8 WWE Wrestlers Who Died When They Were Still Young
1. Shad Gaspard
Since the tragic death of former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard only happened recently, he is on the top of our list of wrestlers who died too young. Gaspard’s story is also one of the most tragic in this sad overview.
Gaspard disappeared on Sunday the 17th of May 2020. While swimming in the ocean with his 10-year-old son, several swimmers got caught in a rip current.
As lifeguards rushed to save people, Gaspard instructed them to save his son first. While his son was pulled to safety, Gaspard drowned when another wave hit him.
Gaspard’s body washed up on Wednesday the 20th of May, 2020. He was only 39 years old.
2. Curt Hennig
Curt Hennig, known as Mr. Perfect and the father of Curtis Axel, also died at a really young age. Hennig died at the age of 44.
Over the course of his career, there were rumors that Curt Hennig had problems with substance abuse. Unfortunately, those rumors turned out to be true as the wrestler died in his hotel room in Tampa, Florida due to cocaine intoxication.
At the time of his death, Hennig was married to Leonice Leonard, and had four children: Joseph, Amy, Hank and Katie. He was also the FOW Heavyweight Champion when he died.
3. Eddie Guerrero
After struggling with substance abuse for years, Eddie Guerrero finally got his life back on track when tragedy hit. Suffering from undiagnosed atherosclerosis, Guerrero died in his hotel room from heart failure.
At the time of his death in 2005, Eddie was only 38 years old. His death would also have a ripple effect, as it was the beginning of the downfall of Chris Benoit (a story that will be recalled later in this sad overview).
Despite dying at a very young age, Eddie Guerrero is still remembered as one of the all time greats.
4. Nancy Daus Sullivan
Nancy Daus Sullivan also known under the name Nancy Elizabeth Benoit has the most tragic story of all, as she was murdered at the age of 43 . She was murdered by her husband Chris Benoit, who entered a downward spiral after the death of his friend Eddie Guerrero.
Chris Benoit saved Nancy Daus Sullivan from her abusive relationship with Kevin Sullivan, so their story originally started great. Unfortunately, nobody could have guessed the tragedy that would unfold in their family home.
Nancy Daus Sullivan, Chris Benoit and their son Daniel were found dead in their home in Atlanta at 2.30 pm on June 25, 2007. The case was declared as a double murder-suicide, stating Chris Benoit had suffocated Nancy with a cord.
There are a number of people who believe that Chris Benoit did not murder Nancy Daus Sullivan, but that her former lover Kevin Sullivan killed the family. However, there is no evidence to back up that claim.
Nancy was best known for her time as Woman in WCW. She also managed numerous wrestlers over the course of her career.
5. Ray Traylor
Ray Traylor was a wrestler with one of the most iconic gimmicks in WWE history, better known as Big Boss Man. Unfortunately, he is also one of the wrestlers who died way too young.
In 2003, Ray Traylor left the WWE and started working for International Wrestling Association of Japan. His final years were marked by tragedy though, as a motorcycle accident and the death of his friend Curt Hennig affected him in a major way.
Ray Traylor died of a heart attack on September 22, 2004. He was only 41 years old when he died in his home in Dallas, Georgia.
Big Boss Man a.k.a. Ray Traylor died only a year after the death of his friend Curt Hennig, leaving behind his two daughters and childhood sweetheart Angela. He was induced in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.
6. Chris Benoit
We briefly touched upon the death of legendary wrestler Chris Benoit, as his wife Nancy Daus Sullivan is also in this list. Unfortunately, his story is one of the most controversial and shocking ones.
Police investigation after the deaths of Chris, Nancy and Daniel indicated that Chris had murdered his wife and son, after which he hung himself in his gym.
Autopsies showed that Nancy had therapeutic levels of Xanax, hydrocodone and hydromorphone in her system. Her son Daniel’s system contained Xanax, so it is believed Chris sedated his son before murdering him.
An autopsy on Benoit showed his body contained Xanax, hydrocodone and elevated testosterone. While many believed testosterone caused his behavior, later evidence would show that repeated concussions and brain damage could have led to the crime.
7. Owen Hart
One of the youngest wrestlers who died young in this tragic overview is none other than Owen Hart. Unfortunately, he died at the young age of 34.
While being lowered in a harness from a great height, a stunt failed causing Owen to fall to his death from a height of 78 feet. He landed on the top rope on his chest and was catapulted in the ring.
Owen had done the stunt numerous times before, but the early release on the harness was triggered causing the wrestler to fall. The WWE was heavily under fire regarding the safety of the harness.
The Hart Family eventually sued the company four weeks after his death on May 23, 1999. WWE came to an agreement with the family, as the family was awarded 18 million dollars.
8. The Von Erich Family
It is quite shocking when you have to put an entire family on the list, but Von Erich family was plagued by death. In fact, three of the famous Von Erich sons died young.
Mike Von Erich was the second of the brothers to die young. His death took place on April 12th, 1987. At the time, he was married to Shani Garza.
Michael Bret Adkisson (Mike Von Erich) commited suicide and it would send ripple effects among his family. It also sparked the rumor of the Von Erich curse, as only one of the five brothers is still alive today.
Several years before the death of Mike Von Erich, another death took place. His brother David Von Erich died on February 9, 1984 in Japan.
Up to this day, the cause of David’s death is unknown. One of the theories was an overdose of painkillers, which is a theory supported by Ric Flair in his autobiography.
Still, the controversy surrounding David continues, as ruptured intestines and acute enteritis were also named as a potential cause of death. It is also believed that David suffered from severe bulimia, which may have contributed to his death.
The last WWE (WWF) brother to die prematurely in the Von Erich family was Kerry Von Erich. He commited suicide on his father’s ranch on February 18, 1993.