Professional Wrestlers Who Died Young

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List Criteria: Prominent wrestlers who died young

Unlike any other athletes or sports entertainers, professional wrestlers are more prone to dying before the age of 55. For whatever reason, (the abuse of their bodies, steroids, hard drugs, partying, long hours) these bohemoths of the square circle end up perishing. Unfortunately, this includes many of the icons of wrestling history. It's almost a strange occupational hazard at this point to be a pro wrestler considering all of the bumps you get in the ring. It seems like you hear about the deaths of these wrestling giants on a more frequent basis these days, as the sport has gotten more popular and become a global brand of entertainment. Many of the stars on this list have competed in the WWE, WCW, ECW, AWA among others. The men and women on this list of dead WWE wrestlers have worked in some of the biggest arenas and pay-per-view events in the world.

So which wrestlers died young? That's the shame of this list. There are guys like Owen Hart, who died during an in-ring stunt, or the tragedy of Chris Benoit and his family, which words can't really do justice. Others, like Andre The Giant, was a victim of his own size and ultimately that size was one of the reasons of his great success.

The wrestlers on this list all died before their 55th birthday. Take a look and see who died young.

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  1. Chyna
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

    Beloved female wrestler Chyna was found dead in her home in Redondo Beach, California in April 2016. Chyna, whose real name was Joan Laurer, was just 45 when she passed away, and police were uncertain as to her cause of death. Chyna entered the professional wrestling scene with a bang in 1996, when she won Rookie of the Year for the Women's Championship. She eventually became the only undefeated female champion in the history of the WWF. She parlayed her success in the ring to success on the screen, appearing in music videos and adult films later in her career.

    More Chyna obituaries:
    CNN, E! Online

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 45
    • Birthplace: Rochester, New York, United States of America
  2. Jonathan Rechner, better known as Balls Mahoney, was only 44 when he passed away suddenly. The cause of his death was not immediately known, but people close to the Extreme Championship Wrestling favorite said he had recently gotten ill after a bad fall at his home. His tag team partner Axl Rotten was also just 44 when he was found dead in a hotel only months earlier.

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    • Age: age 43
    • Birthplace: Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey, USA
  3. The Ultimate Warrior
    Photo: WWE

    Warrior passed away in Scottsdale, AZ the day after appearing on Raw for the first time since 1996 and giving an impassioned speech following his enshrinement in the WWE Hall of Fame and his involvement in Wrestlemania 30 weekend. He is survived by his wife, Dana, and his two daughters, Indiana, and Mattigan.

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    • Age: Died at 55 (1959-2014)
    • Birthplace: Crawfordsville, Indiana, United States of America
  4. André the Giant
    Photo: John McKeon/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Andre died in his sleep of gongestive heart failure in a Paris hotel room. He was in Paris for his father's funeral. His ashes were later scattered at his North Carolina ranch.

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    • Age: Died at 47 (1946-1993)
    • Birthplace: Grenoble, France
  5. Randy Savage
    Photo: Rob DiCaterino/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

    Macho Man after suffering a sudden heart attack while he was the behind the wheel of his Jeep with his wife as his passenger. Savage lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into a tree but neither suffered serious injuries from the crash. Macho Man's death was ultimately ruled as caused by heart disease, a condition that he was seeminly unaware that he had and was not being treated for.

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    • Age: Died at 59 (1952-2011)
    • Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States of America
  6. Chris Benoit
    Photo: TheHellraiser/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

    A tragedy that is still taboo in wrestling circles - over a three day period Chris Benoit murdered his wife by strangling her and killing his young son by smothering him before hanging himself from a pulley in his weight room in their home. After an examination of Chris Benoit's brain it was found that repeated concussions had caused significant damage and lead to dementia which can cause behavioral problems. Similar studies have been performed on ex-NFL players that have hurt themselves or others and they largely reach the same conclusion.

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    • Age: Died at 40 (1967-2007)
    • Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
  7. Miss Elizabeth
    Photo: via pinterest

    Miss Elizabeth died in Marietta, Georgia. 911 was called by Lex Luger. She was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead. The cause of "acute toxicity" from a mixture of pain killers and vodka is officially listed. 

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    • Age: Died at 43 (1960-2003)
    • Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America
  8. Eddie Guerrero
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Guerrero was found unresponsive in his Minneapolis, Minnesota hotel room by his nephew (and long time tag team partner) Chavo Guerrero, Jr. Chavo tried CPR but Eddie was pronounced dead when the paramedics arrived on the scene. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was acute heart failure. He was postumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

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    • Age: Died at 38 (1967-2005)
    • Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, United States of America
  9. Mr. Perfect
    Photo: via pinterest

    Mr. Perfect was found dead in a Florida hotel room. The Medical examiners concluded that cocaine intoxication was the cause of death. He was survived by his parents, Larry and Irene, his brothers Randy and Jesse, his two sisters Sandra and Susan, his wife Leonice, and his children, Joe, Hank, Amy, and Kaitie. He was postumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame

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    • Age: Died at 45 (1958-2003)
    • Birthplace: Robbinsdale, Minnesota, USA
  10. Big Boss Man
    Photo: via tumblr

    Raymond Traylor, Jr. died from a heart attack in his home in Dallas, Georgia.

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    • Age: Died at 41 (1963-2004)
    • Birthplace: Marietta, Georgia, United States of America
  11. Owen Hart
    Photo: via pinterest

    Owen fell to his death at the 'Over The Edge' WWE Pay Per View Event while being lowered to the ring in a harness via a grapple line. Hart fell approximately 78 feet and landed on the top rope and was flung into the ring. The cause of death was internal bleeding due to the fall. One of the worst, if not THE worst tragedy in wrestling history.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 34 (1965-1999)
    • Birthplace: Calgary, Canada
  12. Sensational Sherri died in her mother's McCalla, Alabama home. Toxicology reports indicate that died from an overdose with a multitude of drugs in her system including high amounts of oxycodone.

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    • Age: Died at 49 (1958-2007)
    • Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
  13. Mike Awesome
    Photo: via wikia

    Mike Awesome was found dead by a group of his friends after he hanged himself in his Tampa, Florida home.

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    • Age: Died at 42 (1965-2007)
    • Birthplace: Tampa, Florida, USA
  14. Test
    Photo: via wikia

    Andrew Martin was found dead in his Tampa, Florida home after a neighbor called the police in concern. The neighbor could see Martin's body motionless for several hours through one of his windows. When police arrived, it was believed that he had actually passed away the day before from an oxycodone overdose. An autopsy also revealed that Martin had suffered the same kind of brain damage as Chris Benoit.

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    • Age: Died at 34 (1975-2009)
    • Birthplace: Whitby, Canada
  15. John "Earthquake" Tenta
    Photo: WWE

    Tenta passed away after a battle with bladder cancer that eventually spread to his lungs.

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    • Age: Died at 43 (1963-2006)
    • Birthplace: Surrey, Canada
  16. Nancy Benoit died in her home after being strangled to death by her husband, Chris Benoit. Chris also smothered and killed their young son, Daniel. After murdering his family, Chris Benoit hanged himself in his home gym.

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    • Age: Died at 43 (1964-2007)
    • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
  17. Big John Studd
    Photo: via tumblr

    After a long battle with cancer and various complications from a large tumor in his chest, John Minton died from liver cancer and Hodgkin's disease.

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    • Age: Died at 47 (1948-1995)
    • Birthplace: Butler, Pennsylvania, United States of America
  18. Rick Rude
    Photo: Podcasts and Shoot Interviews/via Youtube

    An autopsy report showed that Rick Rude died of heart failure from mixed medications. At the time of his death he was training to return to the ring. He is survived by his wife, Michelle and his three children.

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    • Age: Died at 41 (1958-1999)
    • Birthplace: St. Peter, Minnesota, United States of America
  19. Davey Boy Smith
    Photo: British Bulldog Front/via Flickr

    The British Bulldog died while on vacation in Bristish Columbia with his girlfriend after suffering a heart attack. It is believed that his past steroid use played a role in his death. He had wrestled a series of tag team matches with his son the weekend before.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 40 (1962-2002)
    • Birthplace: Golborne, United Kingdom
  20. Yokozuna
    Photo: Mandy Coombes/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Rodney Anoa'i died in a hotel room in Liverpool, England while on an independent wrestling tour. The cause of death was widely reported to be a heart attack but it was actually a pulmonary edema. An autopsy showed a build up of fluid in his lungs. At the time of his death, Yokozuna weighed 580lbs.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 34 (1966-2000)
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
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