100 Wrestlers Who Died Before Their Time


81. The Renegade (1965-1999)

Worked For: WCW


Achievements: WCW World Television Championship

On February 23, 1999, severely depressed about his release from his WCW contract and no other companies showing much interest in hiring him, Wilson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 33 years old.

82. Rick McGraw (1955-1985) – 30 Years

Worked For: NWA

Achievements: WWA World Tag Team Championship – with Troy Graham

McGraw died of a heart attack on November 1, 1985. Shortly after, Roddy Piper headlined a show held to benefit McGraw’s family. Fellow professional wrestler Bret Hart noted in his autobiography that McGraw regularly consumed Placidyl and suggested this resulted in his heart failing.

83. Rick Rude (1958-1999) – 40 Years

Worked For: WCW, WWF, ECW

Achievements: WWF Intercontinental Championship, WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2017), WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (3 times), WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

Rood was found unconscious by his wife and died on the morning of April 20, 1999, at the age of 40 when he suffered from heart failure. He was survived by his wife, Michelle, and their three children. An autopsy report showed he died from an overdose of “mixed medications”. At the time of his death, Rood was in training for a return to the ring.

84. Rikidozan (1924-1963) – 39 Years

Worked For: Japan

Achievements: NWA International Heavyweight Championship, Japanese Heavyweight Championship

On December 8, 1963, while partying in a Tokyo nightclub, Rikidozan was stabbed with a urine-soaked blade by a man named Katsuji Murata who belonged to the ninkyo dantai (Yakuza) Sumiyoshi-ikka. Reportedly, Rikidozan threw Murata out of the club and continued to party, refusing to seek medical help. Another report states that Rikidozan did indeed see his physician shortly after the incident, and was told the wound was not serious.

He died a week later of peritonitis on December 15. It is rumored by Kimura that his murder was in retaliation for when Rikidozan attacked Kimura during a wrestling match, after Kimura delivered an errant kick to Rikidozan’s groin, ignoring a pre-match arrangement and attacking Kimura for real.

85. Robert “Jeep” Swenson (1957-1997) – 40 Years

Worked For: WCCW, WCW

Swenson also had a boxing, and acting career. He got the role of Bane in the 1997 movie Batman & Robin. On August 18, 1997, Swenson died of heart failure at the UCLA Medical Center. He was 40 years old. Hulk Hogan, Davey Boy Smith, and James Caan gave eulogies at Swenson’s funeral, which was followed by cremation.

86. Rocco Rock (1953-2002) – 49 Years

Worked For: NWA, ECW, WWF, WCW

Achievements: ECW World Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Johnny Grunge, WCW World Tag Team Championship – with Johnny Grunge

Ted Petty (right) died of a heart attack on September 21, 2002, at the age of 49, while en route to a Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling show where he was scheduled to wrestle against Gary Wolfe in a match for the promotion’s heavyweight title.

87. Russ Haas (1974-2001) – 27 Years


Achievements: CZW Tag Team Championship – with Charlie Haas, ECWA Tag Team Championship – with Charlie Haas, ECWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2004), JAPW Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Charlie Haas, JAPW Hall of Fame (Class of 2007), MCW Southern Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Charlie Haas

On September 24, 2001, Russ Haas (left) suffered a heart attack. On December 15, 2001, Haas suffered a second, fatal heart attack in his sleep at the age of 27. He was found dead by his wife, Deedra, shortly after his brother Charlie had left for the night. Haas was buried at Memorial Oaks Cemetery, in Houston, Texas.

88. Sean O’Haire (1971-2014) – 43 Years

Worked For: WCW, WWF/E, NJPW

Achievements: WCW World Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Mark Jindrak (2) and Chuck Palumbo (1)

On September 9, 2014, O’Haire’s body was found by his father, hanged from a bedpost in his Spartanburg, South Carolina, home. He had apparently committed suicide the day prior. O’Haire had been reportedly suffering from depression and alcohol addiction prior to his death. It had been reported that O’Haire had been to WWE sponsored rehab multiple times.

89. Sherri Martel (1958-2007) – 49 Years

Worked For: AWA, WWF, ECW, WCW

Achievements: WWF Women’s Championship, WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2006)

On the morning of June 15, 2007, Martel died at her mother’s residence in McCalla, Alabama, near Birmingham. She was 49 years old. On September 11, 2007, homicide investigators in Tuscaloosa, Alabama released the toxicology report stating that she died of an overdose with multiple drugs in her system, including high amounts of oxycodone.

90. Shawn Osborne (1976-2011) – 34 Years

Worked For: WWE, HWA

Achievements:HWA Heavyweight Championship, HWA Tag Team Championship – with Benjamin Kimera

McGrath died on January 26, 2011, due to an apparent suicide. He sent a suicide note to several friends, detailing his reasons for committing suicide.

91. Steven Dunn (1960-2009) – 48 Years

Worked For: UWF, WWF, USWA

Achievements: USWA Heavyweight Championship, USWA World Tag Team Championship (8 times) – with Rex King (5), Flash Flanagan (2), and Paul Diamond (1)

On March 22, 2009, Steve Doll (right) died after a blood clot from his lung reached his heart.

92. Terry Gordy (1961-2001) – 40 Years


Achievements: WCW World Tag Team Championship – with Steve Williams, NWA World Tag Team Championship – with Steve Williams, AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (2 times), World Tag Team Championship (7 times) – with Stan Hansen (2) and Steve Williams (5)

Gordy died of a heart attack caused by a blood clot on July 16, 2001. He was inducted in to the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2016.

93. Test (1975-2009) – 33 Years

Worked For: WWF/E, TNA

Achievements: WWF Hardcore Championship (2 times), WWF European Championship, WWF Intercontinental Championship, WWF Tag Team Championship – with Booker T, WCW Tag Team Championship – with Booker T

Andrew Martin was found dead in his Tampa, Florida home on March 13, 2009, just 4 days before his 34th birthday. Police were called in after a concerned neighbor reported Martin appearing motionless for several hours through a window outside his condominium. Police retrieved the body after scaling the apartment balcony. He is believed to have died the previous day. His death was ruled an accidental overdose of oxycodone. He was cremated and his remains were flown to his family at his hometown of Whitby, Ontario, Canada.

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