Published June 26, 2007
Chris Benoit was found dead in his Georgia home Sunday with his wife and daughter. Here are some other notable professional wrestling deaths:
The Von Erich Family: At one time, the Von Erichs were the biggest stars in wrestling, but things went bad for the family rather quickly. Of the five brothers that wrestled, only one lived to reach the age of 35. David died in 1984 due to an intestinal problem. Mike, Kerry and Chris all committed suicide.
Bruiser Brody: In 1988, Bruiser Brody (Frank Goodish) was stabbed to death in a Puerto Rico locker room after getting into an argument with fellow grappler and local booking agent Jose Huertas Gonzalez, who was later charged with murder. Gonzalez was acquitted in 1989 on grounds of self-defense.
Andre the Giant: Andre The Giant (Andre Rousimoff) died Jan. 27, 1993, of a heart attack at 46. At 7 feet tall and more than 500 pounds, Andre was one of the biggest and most popular wrestlers in the business for nearly 20 years. The man who wore a size 26 EEEE shoe died just 12 days after he buried his father.
Dino Bravo: Bravo (Adolpho Bresciano) was shot and killed near his home in Canada on March 11, 1993, at the age of 44. Bravo was believed to have upset members of an organized crime group in Canada for his involvement with cigarette smuggling. The murder was never solved.
Eddie Graham: Graham (Eddie Gossett) committed suicide on Jan. 21, 1985, at the age of 55. The former wrestler and promoter was despondent after falling victim to a con man's scam involving a dirt-hauling business venture.
"Gorgeous" Gino Hernandez: Hernandez (Charles Wolfe) died of a cocaine overdose on Jan. 30, 1986, at the age of 29. Hernandez was at the peak of his wrestling career when he became a drug abuser.
"Adorable" Adrian Adonis: Adonis (Keith Franke) died in an auto accident on July 4, 1988, at the age of 34 while traveling to a wrestling show in Lewisporte Newfoundland, Canada.
"Flyin' " Brian Pillman: Pillman, 35, was found in a Minnesota hotel room in October 1997 with empty vials of painkillers near his body. His widow, Melanie King, said an autopsy found that Pillman died from undiagnosed heart disease, although she also claimed his heavy use of prescription drugs may have played a role by enabling him to exceed normal physical limits.
Louie "Spicolli" Mucciolo: Mucciolo, 27, died from coronary disease in his San Pedro, Calif., home in 1998, according to his autopsy. Investigators found an empty vial of the male hormone testosterone, pain pills and an anxiety-reducing drug on the scene and the Los Angeles County coroner's office determined the drugs might have contributed to his heart condition.
Richard "Ravishing Rick Rude" Rood: Rood, 40, died from an overdose of "mixed medications" in Alpharetta, Ga., in 1999, his autopsy shows. In 1994 he testified that he had used anabolic steroids to build muscle mass and relieve joint pain.
Owen Hart: At the Over the Edge '99 PPV event, Owen Hart, dressed as the Blue Blazer, was set to descend from the ceiling of the arena to the ring. However, Hart plummeted from the rafters chest-first onto a turnbuckle. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The event went on -- fans in attendance did not find out what happened to Hart while the audience at home was told. Fans in attendance and at home did not witness the fall, as an interview was being shown at the time of the accident.
"The British Bulldog": "The British Bulldog" (Davey Boy Smith), 39, died in 2002 in Canada of an enlarged heart with evidence of microscopic scar tissue, possibly from steroid abuse, a coroner said.
Miss Elizabeth: In 2003, wrestling beauty Elizabeth Anne Houlette passed away from an overdose of a combination of pain pills and alcohol..
Curt Hennig: Hennig, 44, died of acute cocaine intoxication in February 2003, medical records show. But his family has said that years of steroids and painkillers use contributed to his death.
Eddie Guerrero: Although Guerrero was primed to overcome his personal battle with drug and substance abuse, he was found dead from heart failure November 13, 2005, the morning he was scheduled to wrestle for the World Championship.
Ed "The Bull" Gantner: Ed "The Bull" Gantner committed suicide on Dec. 31, 1990, at 31. Gantner, who played football at Edgewater High School and the University of Central Florida before becoming a professional wrestler, was in failing health due to steroid abuse.