Top 10 Greatest Wrestlers That Died Too Early
October 4, 2021 By Sourav
The WWE wrestlers use steroids to maintain their physical fitness, and they do not take any rest during the year. As a result, many great wrestlers that died too early.
However, even though the WWE program guides wrestlers properly and reduces heat illness, more than 400 wrestlers have died very early. In addition to Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Edge, many wrestlers retired due to heart problems.
Unfortunately, it is sad to see giants dying too soon or suffering from such a severe disease. Our researchers have discovered the greatest wrestlers of history who died at an early age. Please take a look at who they were.
Wrestlers That Died Too Early – All-Time Ranking
10. Owen Hart – Lifespan: 1965 – 1999
9. Kerry Von Erich – Lifespan: 1960 – 1993
8. Chris Benoit – Lifespan: 1967 – 2007
7. Rick Rude – Lifespan: 1958 – 1999
6. Curt Hennig – Lifespan: 1958 – 2003
5. Yokozuna – Lifespan: 1966 – 2000
4. Umaga – Lifespan: 1973 – 2009
3. Eddie Guerrero – Lifespan: 1967 – 2005
2. Sherri Martel – Lifespan: 1958 – 2007
1. Bam Bam Bigelow – Lifespan: 1961 – 2007
Wrestling is one of the oldest sports ever known to humankind as we can trace this sport more than 4 thousand years ago. Besides, it is one of the most difficult sports in the world to master. And while participating in this sport, many great wrestlers have died too young. And here they are!
10. Owen Hart – Lifespan: 1965 - 1999
Owen James Hart is one of the WWE wrestlers that died at a very early age. As a professional wrestler, he worked for various promotions, such as Stampede Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and the World Wrestling Federation. However, most of Owen’s success came when he wrestled for the WWF, where he also wrestled under the ring name The Blue Blazer.
While competing in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, he won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Furthermore, in 1987 he was awarded by the Pro-Wrestling Illustrated as Rookie of the Year and Feud of the Year 1994.
Again, in his Stampede Wrestling career, Owen won Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship. And he was also elected to the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995. And even after his sad demise, he is still dubbed as one of the strongest men of all time.
The legendary wrestler Owen Hart didn’t go that far and passed away in 1999 at just 34. It happened due to an accident in the middle of a WWE pay-per-view event when Owen fell 80 feet from the rafters. He is buried in Queen’s Park Cemetery, Calgary in Canada. Out of the top 10 greatest wrestlers that died too early, Owen has ranked at the 10th spot.
9. Kerry Von Erich – Lifespan: 1960 - 1993
Kerry Gene Adkisson, also known as Kerry Von Erich, was an American professional wrestler. He was a pro wrestler that has died. In addition, Kerry belonged to the Von Erich family of wrestlers. He spent eleven years with his father’s promotion, World Class Championship Wrestling, and in the World Wrestling Federation under the ring name The Texas Tornado.
Kerry won the NWA American Heavyweight Championship five times and the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship three times. On a different note, he has one of the best finishing moves in WWE that everyone loves.
Due to his accomplishments, Pro-Wrestling Illustrated ranked him #23 among the 100 tag teams of the “PWI Years” in 2003. Moreover, he also conquered the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
We have ranked Kerry at the 9th spot in the top ten greatest wrestlers that died too early. Unfortunately, in 1986 a motorcycle accident nearly ended his life, he became disabled. At that time, he was only 33 years old. He didn’t bear that loss, and after some years in 1993, Kerry committed suicide with a gunshot. He is buried in Grove Hill Memorial Park, Dallas country, USA.
8. Chris Benoit – Lifespan: 1967 - 2007
Christopher Michael Benoit was a professional wrestler from France and Canada. Throughout his 22-year career, he has worked for numerous promotions, including the World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. According to industry journalist Dave Meltzer, he is among the greatest pro wrestlers of all time.
He is at 8th position among the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time who died too early. He earned the name of “Crippler Benoit” for being notorious after starting fights with famous wrestlers for the Extreme Championship Wrestling.
During his heyday, he was dubbed as one of the richest wrestlers of all time. However, Chris’s story is of significant tragedy – the double homicide and suicide. First, in 2007 when he never came out for a weekend of matches with WWE.
Then, after police research, they found the dead bodies of Benoit, his wife, and his child. Sources have confirmed that Benoit committed suicide after murdering his wife and child. He was 40 years old at the time of death; his body was found hanging with a strangling cord.
7. Rick Rude – Lifespan: 1958 - 1999
Richard Erwin Rood, better known by his ring name “Ravishing” Rick Rude, was an American professional wrestler. Rick was a pro wrestler that died at the peak of his career.
Among his many promotions were World Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Federation, and Extreme Championship Wrestling. Believe it or not, he was regarded as one of the most handsome athletes of his time.
Rude wrestled from 1982-1994; he was a three-time WCW International World Heavyweight Champion. We have ranked him at number 7 among the greatest wrestlers of all time who died too early. Furthermore, in 1992 Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him no.4 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500. In 1987, Rude got Slammy Award and Jesse” The Body” award while competing in World Wrestling Federation.
Woefully his career had to be cut short, and he got retirement because of an intense neck injury. After heart failure due to mixed medications Rude departed this world in 1999 at the age of 40. He is buried in Green Lawn Cemetery & Mausoleum, Georgia, United States.
6. Curt Hennig – Lifespan: 1958 - 2003
The late Curtis Michael Hennig was an American wrestler, commentator, and manager. In addition to American Wrestling Association and World Wrestling Federation promotion, he also performed in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under his real name.
Axel Hennig was the son of famous wrestler Larry “The Axe” Hennig and the father of Curtis Axel, who is also a wrestler. On a different note, he is still regarded as one of the greatest athletes who used steroids to bulk up the body.
He is ranked 6th among the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time who died too early. In 1987, Hennig got much reputation when he defeated Nick Bockwinkel in the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. And in that same year, he was titled Pro Wrestling Illustrated as PWI Most Improved Wrestler of the Year.
Additionally, Hennig was also inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class in 2015. Unfortunately, he didn’t go that far; he died in 2003 at 44 in Tampa. Sources have confirmed that Hennig was secretly battling drug addiction and died because of Cocaine intoxication throughout his career. Hennig is buried in Gethsemane Cemetery, Minnesota, United States.
5. Yokozuna – Lifespan: 1966 - 2000
He is best known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation as Yokozuna, an American professional wrestler. Sumo wrestling is a type of professional wrestling in Japan. This name refers to the highest rank in the WWE. Professional wrestling champion Yokozuna won two world championships during his career.
Yokozuna is a two-times champion of the World Wrestling Federation Championship. He has an enormous presence every time he comes inside the ring during his professional career. Besides, he is still dubbed one of the greatest villains in WWE.
Furthermore, in 1993 he also won the Royal Rumble of the World Wrestling Federation Championship. Due to his significant contribution to WWF, he was elected to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012. Yokozuna is placed at 5th in the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time who died too early.
Besides, Pro Wrestling Illustrated awarded him as the Most Improved Wrestler of the Year. Unfortunately, he had to say goodbye to his career when he suffered from Pulmonary Edema. He died because of this disease in 2000 in Liverpool, England. Yokozuna is buried in Green Hills Memorial Park, California, United States.
4. Umaga – Lifespan: 1973 - 2009
Edward Smith Fatu most notably wrestled under the ring name Umaga with World Wrestling Entertainment in his professional wrestling career. During his heydays, he was regarded for having one of the ridiculous outfits in WWE.
He belonged to the renowned Samoan wrestling family Anoa’i. In his first WWE run under Jamal’s name, he formed the tag team 3-Minute Warning with his cousin Matt Anoai, known as Rosey.
Umaga is ranked at 4th among the top ten greatest wrestlers who died too early. Umaga netted World Tag Team Championship in All Japan Pro Wrestling. Additionally, he also won HWA Tag Team Championship two times in Heartland Wrestling Association.
Moreover, in 2007 the Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him no.22 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in PWI 500. Unfortunately, he passed away because of a heart attack in 2009 at the age of 37 in Houston, US. Umaga is buried in Davis Memorial Park Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
3. Eddie Guerrero – Lifespan: 1967 - 2005
A professional wrestler from the United States, Eduardo Gory Guerrero Llanes, died really early. Being the son of first-generation wrestler Gory Guerrero, he was a prominent member of the Guerrero wrestling family. Needless to say, he was one of the most popular WWE superstars of his time.
Several major pro wrestling promotions hired Guerrero to perform in Mexico and Japan. He also competed in Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, and most notably World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment.
Eddie triumphed AAA World Tag Team Championship and was also inducted into the AAA Hall of Fame in 2008. And in that same year, he won the Men’s Wrestling Award in Cauliflower Alley Club. In addition, he is ranked at 3rd place among the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time who died too early.
Moreover, Pro Wrestling Illustrated titled him in 2002 as Inspirational Wrestler of the Year. Eddie was ranked by PWI on no.2 of the top 500 wrestlers in PWI 500 in 2004. Eddie served 18 years of his life to wrestling. In 2005 he suffered acute heart failure from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and died at the age of 38. Eddie is buried in Green Acres Mortuary & Cemetery, Arizona, United States.
2. Sherri Martel – Lifespan: 1958 - 2007
The legendary American wrestler and manager, Sherri Martel, was better known by her ring names, Sensational Sherri and Sherri Martel. And during her professional wrestling career, he was widely dubbed as one of the most entertaining aerial wrestlers in WWE.
After training in Columbia, South Carolina, Martel began her professional wrestling career in the Mid-South. In the mid-1980s, she joined the American Wrestling Association and won the World Women’s Championship three times. And since then, she has been widely regarded as one of the greatest female wrestlers in WWE.
On number 2nd, we have mentioned Sherri, among the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time who died too early. Sherri netted IWA Women’s Championship in the International Wrestling Association. In addition to the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame, she was also inducted to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Moreover, Sherri also won the AWA World Women’s Championship participating in the AWA Superstars of Wrestling. Sherri is the only female wrestler who achieved such a massive number of championships at 49. And she died before her 50s due to a drug overdose in McCalla, United States, in 2007.
Also Read: Hottest WWE Divas Of All Time
1. Bam Bam Bigelow – Lifespan: 1961 - 2007
Scott Charles Bigelow is a professional wrestler from the United States known by Bam Bam Bigelow’s ring name. His bald head was covered in a large tattoo resembling a flame that sprawled across the majority of his frame. Besides, he is also one of the tallest athletes of all time.
Ryan Murphy called Bigelow “the most natural, agile, and physical specimen of the past quarter-century.” In contrast, former co-worker Bret Hart called him “probably the most hardworking person in the industry.”
Bam Bam Bigelow is number one among the top ten greatest wrestlers who died too early. He is most renowned for his promotions New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation, and Extreme Championship Wrestling from 1987-2001. Bigelow triumphed the WAR World Six-Man Tag Championship in Wrestle Association R.
Besides, his wrestling career achievements include his Slammy Award for Best Head in the World Wrestling Federation of 1987. He also won WCW World Tag Team Championship incredibly two times. A significant loss to the wrestling world, in 2007, Bigelow died at the age of 45 due to a drug overdose in Florida, US.
All right, folks! In order to find out about these legends who are no longer with us, we did a deep search. You can leave a comment or even send us an email if you have any questions or suggestions about our ranking.
Wrestlers Who Died Early - Infographics
FAQs Regarding Wrestlers Who Died Early
Q. Who was the youngest WWE superstar to die?
In this tragic overview, a young wrestler who died young is none other than Owen Hart, who tragically died at just 34 years of age.
Q. How many wrestlers have died prematurely?
Many wrestlers have died young, frequently before the age of 50. According to recent research, 400+ wrestlers have died before age 50.
Q. Who died in WWE from falling?
Owen Hart fell 80 feet from the rafters while a WWE pay-per-view was being held in 1999. However, he died in the accident while the show was going on.
Q. How many wrestlers have died of heart attacks?
The 12 wrestlers who have died since WrestleMania VI have all passed away due to heart attack or heart disease, except Dino Bravo, who was murdered at the age of 44, and two overdose deaths.