WWE superstar Bray Wyatt has died at the age of 36 after reportedly suffering a heart attack.
The wrestler, real name Windham Rotunda, hadn’t been seen on TV since February as rumors suggested he was dealing with an injury.
WWE Chief Content Officer and former superstar Triple H revealed the news on his official Twitter account.
“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.
“Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”
Few details about what led up to Rotunda’s death were immediately available, but Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful attributed it to a heart attack.
“I was given permission to reveal that earlier this year Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) got COVID that exacerbated a heart issues,” he wrote.
“There was a lot of positive progress towards a return and his recovery. Unfortunately today he suffered a heart attack and passed away.”
Rotunda’s official cause of death has not yet been confirmed by family or authorities.
The former WWE Champion was best known for his creativity and promo skills.
He was a third-generation wrestler as the grandson of Blackjack Mulligan and the son of Mike Rotunda, better known under the ring name Irwin R. Schyster – IRS.
Rotunda also had a brother, Taylor Rotunda, who performed in the WWE under the name Bo Dallas.
Wrestling icon and WWE star Dwayne The Rock Johnson mourned Wyatt in a heartfelt message.
“I’m 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 world of pro wrestling. Still processing losing the goat, Terry Funk yesterday, and now Bray today.
“My love, light, strength & mana to the Rotunda family and Funk family during this tough, heartbreaking time.”
Matt Hardy, six-time WWE tag-team champion, shared a message on Instagram mourning the beloved wrestler.
“Absolutely shattered to learn that my friend, Windham Rotunda, has passed away,” he wrote.
“It’s devastating to think he left us at only 36 years young. My condolences go out to his family, wife & children. I’m so sorry, my compeer. Miss you already.”
Fans of Rotunda also shared tributes to the wrestler, who had become famous for his character work including his cult-leader status as Bray Wyatt and The Fiend, a sinister demon.
One person called Rotunda “one of the greatest minds in wrestling.”
“I was so happy when he won the WWE Championship. Felt like he got what he rightfully deserved. We will miss you Bray Wyatt,” they said.
The WWE legend last wrestled at this year’s Royal Rumble in January and remained out with an undisclosed illness.
Rotunda was released from the company in 2021 but re-signed last October.
After his return, he did a promo video thanking the fans for welcoming him back to the company.
“I am incredibly grateful,” he said. “I’m really, really nervous to be here. I never thought this would happen.
“This right here, this is just me OK? This is a version of me I never got to introduce to you guys before. This is just me being me – genuine me – for the first time.”
Prior to his time in the WWE, he was a standout athlete growing up in Florida.
He won a state wrestling championship in high school and was a star football player, earning a scholarship to play at Troy University after a two-year stint playing in junior college.
At the time of his death, Rotunda was engaged to his fiancée, Joseann Offerman, a former WWE ring announcer with whom he shares two children.
Rotunda also had two daughters from a previous marriage.
The news comes just a day after WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk died at the age of 79.
Mick Foley shared the news on social media: “Terry Funk is gone. I just talked to Terry’s daughter, Brandee, who gave me the awful news.
“He was my mentor, my idol, one of the closest friends. He was the greatest wrestler I ever saw.
“If you get the chance, look up a Terry Funk match or a Terry Funk promo, and give thanks that this incredible man gave so much, for so long, to so many.
“There will never be another like him.
“May God bless Terry, his friends, family and all who loved him. RIP my dear friend – it was an honor to know you. #RIPTerryFunk.”
Several stars shared tributes to the wrestler, whose career spanned 50 years.
“In My Entire Life, I’ve Never Met A Guy Who Worked Harder,” wrote Ric Flair.
“Terry Funk Was A Great Wrestler, Entertainer, Unbelievably Fearless, And A Great Friend!
“Rest In Peace My Friend Terry Funk Knowing That No One Will Ever Replace You In The World Of Professional Wrestling!”
Funk’s wrestling career began back in 1965 with Western States Sports – a promotion in Texas.
Moves to Florida and Japan followed before he joined what was then known as the WWF in 1985.
For the remainder of his career, Funk would bounce between the WWF/WWE, WCW, ECW, NWA, and others.
Come 2009, he and his brother Dory would ultimately be indicted into the WWE Hall of Fame.