Professional Wrestlers Who Died Young

by yrnej | created - 09 May 2017 | updated - 12 May 2017 | Public

Wiki: According to a study by Eastern Michigan University, mortality rates for professional wrestlers are 2.9 times greater than the rate for men in the wider US population. Experts suggest that a combination of the physical nature of the business, no off-season, and the drug culture of the 1970s and 1980s contributes to high mortality rates among wrestlers.

Of these well-known professional wrestlers who died at age 45 or younger, which do you remember best?

Discuss the list here

1. Mike Von Erich

Self | World Pro Wrestling TV

Mike Von Erich was born on March 2, 1964 in Dallas, Texas, USA as Michael Bret Adkisson. He was married to Shani Garza. He died on April 12, 1987.

Age 23 - suicide by drug overdose

2. David Von Erich

David Von Erich was born on July 22, 1958 in Dallas, Texas, USA as David Allen Adkisson. He was married to Patricia A. Matter and Candy L. McLeod. He died on February 9, 1984 in Tokyo, Japan.

Age 25 - acute enteritis

3. Reid Flair

Self | WCW Monday Nitro

Reid Flair was born on February 26, 1988 in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as Richard Reid Fliehr. He died on March 29, 2013 in Charlotte.

Age 25 - drug overdose

4. Louis Mucciolo

Actor | ECW Hardcore TV

Louis Mucciolo was born on February 10, 1971 in San Pedro, California, USA as Louis Mucciolo Jr. He was an actor, known for Eastern Championship Wrestling (1993), WCW Thunder (1998) and WCW Saturday Night (1985). He died on February 15, 1998 in Los Angeles, California.

AKA Louie Spicolli; age 27 - drug overdose

5. Gino Hernandez

Self | World Pro Wrestling TV

Gino Hernandez was born on August 14, 1957 in Highland Park, Texas, USA as Jr. Charles Eugene Wolfe. He was married to Janice Marie Bancroft. He died on February 2, 1986 in Highland Park.

Age 28 - drug overdose

6. Lance McNaught

Actor | WWE Monday Night RAW

Lance McNaught was born on March 2, 1981 in Carroll, Iowa, USA as Lance Kurtis McNaught. He was an actor, known for WWE Raw (1993), WWE Sunday Night Heat (1998) and NWA Wrestling Showcase (2008). He was married to Tanya R. Gonzales. He died on August 13, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

AKA Lance Cade; age 29 - cardiomyopathy

7. Art Barr

Actor | Immortal Combat

Art Barr was born in 1967 in Portland, Oregon. He was the son of professional wrestler Ferrin Barr, or Dandy Sandy. Barr grew up in Portland in & around the wrestling scene. He started wrestling around Oregon in the early 80s, and was mentored by the legendary 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. He created a ...

Age of 29 - undetermined cause (possibilities included heart failure, overdose and steroid use)

8. Rick McGraw

Actor | WWWF All-Star Wrestling

Rick McGraw was born on March 19, 1955 in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA as Richard E. McGraw Jr. He was an actor, known for WWF All-Star Wrestling (1972), World Wrestling Federation (1973) and WWF Championship Wrestling (1972). He was married to Lisa McCarty. He died on November 1, 1985 in New ...

Age 30 - heart attack

9. Joseph A. Marella

Actor | WWE Monday Night RAW

Joseph A. Marella was born on February 28, 1963 in Willingboro, New Jersey, USA as Joseph Adriano Marella. He was an actor, known for WWE Raw (1993), Saturday Night's Main Event (1985) and No Holds Barred (1989). He died on July 4, 1994 in Burlington, New Jersey.

Age 31 - car crash (fell asleep at the wheel)

10. Michael Lockwood

Actor | WWF SmackDown!

Michael Lockwood was born on August 25, 1971 in Pacifica, California, USA as Michael John Lockwood. He was an actor, known for WWE Smackdown! (1999), WWE Raw (1993) and WWE Jakked (1999). He was married to Christeena Wheeler. He died on November 6, 2003 in Navarre, Florida, USA.

AKA Crash Holly; age 32 - suicide by drug overdose

11. Buzz Sawyer

Actor | WWWF All-Star Wrestling

Buzz Sawyer was born on June 14, 1959 in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. He was an actor, known for WWF All-Star Wrestling (1972), Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup (1986) and NFL Monday Night Football (1970). He died on February 7, 1992 in Sacramento, California, USA.

Age 32 - heart attack

12. Chris Candido

Actor | WCW Thunder

Chris Candido was born on March 21, 1972 in Spring Lake, New Jersey, USA as Christopher B. Candito. He was an actor, known for WCW Thunder (1998), WWF Superstars (1986) and WWE Raw (1993). He was married to Tammy Sytch. He died on April 28, 2005 in Matawan, New Jersey.

Age 33 - blood clot

13. Kerry Von Erich

Actor | Problem Child

Kerry Adkisson was born on February 3, 1960, to Jack and Doris Adkisson. Jack was a wrestler, so most of Jack's children followed in his footsteps (one child, Jack Adkisson, Jr., tragically died in 1959 from electrocution). Kerry was a standout discus thrower at University of Houston, and actually ...

Age 33 - suicide by gunshot

14. Andrew Martin

Actor | 18 Wheels of Justice

Andrew Martin was born on March 17, 1975 in Whitby, Ontario, Canada as Andrew James Robert Patrick Martin. He was an actor, known for 18 Wheels of Justice (2000), WWE Smackdown! (1999) and WWE Raw (1993). He died on March 12, 2009 in Tampa, Florida, USA.

AKA Test; age 33 - drug overdose

15. Chase Tatum

Actor | Who's Your Caddy?

Chase Tatum was born on November 3, 1973 in Kennesaw, Georgia, USA as William Chase Tatum. He was an actor, known for Who's Your Caddy? (2007), Creature from Black Lake (1976) and WCW Thunder (1998). He died on March 23, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Age 34 - drug overdose

16. Owen Hart

Actor | WWF SmackDown!

Owen Hart was one of twelve children from a legendary Canadian wrestling family. His brother Bret is also one of the most well known wrestlers of all time. Owen was one of the best wrestlers in the business and his major accomplishments include being the 1994 King of the Ring, former ...

Age 34 - fall from roof during a match

17. Bobby Duncum Jr.

Actor | WCW Thunder

Bobby Duncum Jr. was born on August 26, 1965 in Amarillo, Texas, USA. He was an actor, known for WCW Thunder (1998), WCW Monday Nitro (1995) and WCW Saturday Night (1985). He was married to Michelle Duncum. He died on January 24, 2000 in Austin, Texas.

Age 34 - accidental prescription drug overdose

18. Eddie Fatu

Actor | WWF SmackDown!

Born on March 28th, 1973, Eddie Fatu, more widely known as WWE Wrestling Superstar "Umaga" came from a long line of Samoans wrestlers with a rich history.

Also known as "The Samoan Bulldozer," the 6' 4", 350-lb. wrestler earned a reputation for executing moves with more ease than one might expect ...

AKA Umaga; age 36 - heart attack

19. Davey Boy Smith

Actor | WWF SmackDown!

Davey Boy Smith was born on November 27, 1962 in Manchester, England as David Boy Smith. He was an actor, known for WWE Smackdown! (1999), WCW Thunder (1998) and WCW Saturday Night (1985). He was married to Diana Hart. He died on May 18, 2002 in Invermere, British Columbia, Canada.

Age 39 - heart attack

20. Chris Kanyon

Actor | WCW Monday Nitro

Debuted in World Championship Wrestling in 1995 under the name Chris Kanyon. He was soon teamed up with Mark Starr, and they were given a construction workers gimmick and named Men At Work. In 1997 he became Mortis, a member of James Vandenberg's (James Mitchell) Collection Of Human Oddities. He ...

Age 40 - suicide by prescription drug overdose

21. Chris Benoit

Actor | WCW Thunder

Christopher Michael Benoit is a Canadian wrestler who was born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Michael and Margaret Benoit. He grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, from where he was billed throughout the bulk of his career. He had a sister living near Edmonton.

During his 22-year career, Benoit worked for ...

Age 40 - suicide by hanging

22. Ray Traylor

Actor | WWF SmackDown!

Ray Traylor was born on May 2, 1963 in Marietta, Georgia, USA as Ray Washington Traylor Jr. He was an actor, known for WWE Smackdown! (1999), WCW Monday Nitro (1995) and WCW Saturday Night (1985). He was married to Angela Easterwood. He died on September 22, 2004 in Dallas, Georgia.

Age 42 - heart attack

23. Brian Adams

Actor | WWF SmackDown!

Brian Adams was born on April 14, 1964 in Kona, Hawaii, USA as Brian Keith Adams. He is known for his work on WWE Smackdown! (1999), WCW Thunder (1998) and WCW Monday Nitro (1995). He was married to Irene Yumiko. He died on August 13, 2007 in Tampa, Florida, USA.

Age 43 - accidental prescription drug overdose

24. Nancy Daus-Sullivan

Actress | WCW Monday Nitro

Nancy Daus-Sullivan was born on May 21, 1964 in Orlando, Florida, USA as Nancy Elizabeth Toffoloni. She was an actress, known for WCW Monday Nitro (1995), Eastern Championship Wrestling (1993) and WCW Saturday Night (1985). She was married to Chris Benoit, Kevin Sullivan and Jim Daus. She died on ...

AKA Nancy Benoit; age 43 - murdered by her husband, Chris Benoit

25. Sean O'Haire

Actor | WCW Thunder

Sean O'Haire was born on February 25, 1971 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA as Sean Christopher Haire. He was an actor, known for WCW Thunder (1998), WWE Smackdown! (1999) and WCW Monday Nitro (1995). He was married to Joy Elizabeth. He died on September 9, 2014 in Spartanburg, South ...

Age 43 - suicide by hanging

26. Jonathan Rechner

Actor | Extreme Rising

Jonathan Rechner was born on April 11, 1972 in Nutley, New Jersey, USA. He was an actor, known for Extreme Rising (2012), WWE Smackdown! (1999) and I Spill Your Guts (2012). He was married to Christy Stanton. He died on April 12, 2016 in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey.

AKA Balls Mahoney; age 44 - heart attack

27. Curt Hennig

Actor | WCW Monday Nitro

Curt Hennig was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the son of one of wrestlings all time legends - Larry Hennig - Aka Larry The Ax Hennig. Curtbegan training to follow in his fathers footsteps when he was just 12 years old. Starting off in the AWA - Curt began his career as a tag team wrestler. He...

Age 44 - combined drug intoxication

28. Sylvester Ritter

Actor | WWWF Championship Wrestling

The man who would eventually become known as the Junk Yard Dog was born on December 13, 1953, in Wadesboro, North Carolina. He played football & wrestled in high school and was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1975 after graduating from Fayetville State University, but was cut after blowing out his...

AKA Junkyard Dog - car accident (fell asleep at wheel)

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