Bray Wyatt: WWE champion dies aged 36
‘Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy world of pro wrestling’
Three-time WWE world champion Bray Wyatt has died aged 36. The wrestler had been dealing with an undisclosed health issue that had kept him out of the ring since February, but his death was characterised as sudden by his family.
The news was confirmed by WWE content officer Triple H, who posted on social media that Wyatt, real name Windham Rotunda, had “unexpectedly passed”.
The wrestler, real name Paul Levesque, said he had been informed of Wyatt’s death by his dad.
WWE is saddened to learn that Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 24, at age 36.
WWE extends its condolences to Rotunda’s family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/pabVuaKlnP
— WWE (@WWE) August 24, 2023
“Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda who informed us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda – also known as Bray Wyatt – unexpectedly passed earlier today,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”
Wyatt last climbed in the ring in January, beating LA Knight in a Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match at the Royal Rumble.
The athlete, according to reports, had been battling a long-term illness – that was described as “life-threatening” – but had finally been cleared to wrestle again with September being looked at as a possible return date.
Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda who informed us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda - also known as Bray Wyatt - unexpectedly passed earlier today. Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their…
— Triple H (@TripleH) August 24, 2023
According to Fightful.com, Wyatt passed away Thursday after suffering a heart attack, having battled health problems brought on by COVID earlier this year.
“I was given permission to reveal that earlier this year Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) got COVID that exacerbated a heart issues,” Sean Ross Sapp of the publication wrote on Twitter.
“There was a lot of positive progress towards a return and his recovery. Unfortunately today he suffered a heart attack and passed away.”
Dwayne Johnson was among those paying tribute to the star.
Writing on X, formerly Twitter, The Rock said he was “heartbroken” and had “always had tremendous respect and love” for Wyatt.
“Loved his presence, promos, in-ring work and connection with @WWE universe,” he wrote.
“Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy world of pro wrestling.”
Im heartbroken over the news of Bray Wyatt’s passing. Always had tremendous respect and love for him and the Rotunda family. Loved his presence, promos, in ring work and connection with @wwe universe.
Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy… pic.twitter.com/i9zlbJIOL3
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 24, 2023
When Your Great Friend And Someone Your Son’s Age Dies Within 2 Days, It Really Makes Me Reflect & Think About Life! Don’t Take Any Second For Granted! Rest In Peace Terry Funk & Bray Wyatt! pic.twitter.com/U2FpzeibmY
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) August 24, 2023
WWE commentator Mick Foley added: “I thought so highly of Bray Wyatt… He was a true visionary; one of the most compelling presences that wrestling has ever seen.”
Wyatt came from a family of wrestlers, including his grandfather Blackjack Mulligan, his father Mike Rotunda and his younger brother Bo Dallas.
Wyatt, who was born in Brooksville, Florida, was a state wrestling champion in high school and earned a football scholarship to Troy University.
But he ditched the pitch for the ring, quitting his schooling before graduation to pursue a professional wrestling career. Wyatt made his professional debut in 2009 and fought under several names including, Husky Harris, Alex Rotunda, Duke Rotundo and The Fiend.
As Bray Wyatt, he portrayed the villainous leader of a cult faction named The Wyatt family with Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman, and the late Luke Harper (aka Brodie Lee).
Booker T found out about the passing of Bray Wyatt live during his Hall of Fame Podcast stream 😓 pic.twitter.com/gQjMak9uF4
— Wrestlelamia.co.uk (@wrestlelamia) August 25, 2023
— Àbúrò LUKÀKU 🐘 (@aburolukaku) August 25, 2023
After being released from WWE in 2021, Wyatt made a long-awaited comeback at the pay-per-view Extreme Rules event last October, where he debuted a new version of his character.
Wyatt is survived by his fiancee and former WWE ring announcer Joseann Offerman, their four children, brother Bo Dallas (Taylor Rotunda), and sister Mika.
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