In keeping with recent media stories, Dave Meltzer made a list of pro-wrestlers who have passed away before reaching 50 years of age in the past decade. He only included those who worked full-time with a major promotion at some point and came up with a final tally of 62, although he admits that is probably not an exact figure. The wrestlers listed were then linked to steroids and recreational drug use if warranted, which in most cases they were. Full details of the list are in the 19th July 2007 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which makes for an interesting, if depressing, read. Briefly, it includes the following:
Chris Adams – shot dead 7th October 2001; history of steroid, GHB and heavy recreational drug use.
Gary Albright – overweight, died of a heart attack 7th January 2000; not thought to have used steroids.
Mike Alfonso, a.k.a. Mike Awesome – suicide 17th February 2007; history of heavy steroid use affecting his health.
Randy Anderson – died of painkiller overdose 5th May 2002; had been fighting cancer at the time.
Rodney Anoia, a.k.a. Yokozuna – severely obese, died of heart attack 22nd October 2000; history of significant painkiller use.
Chris Benoit – suicide 24th June 2007; history of heavy steroid and recreational drug use.
Nancy Benoit – murdered 22nd June 2007.
Scott “Bam Bam” Bigelow – heart attack 19th January 2007; marginal steroid use in past but heavy recreational drug use up till the end.
Shane Bower, a.k.a. Biff Wellington – heart attack 20th June 2007; former steroid user and painkiller addiction.
Basil Bozinis – heart attack 18th February 2002; heavy steroid use.
Herb Calvert – died 27th January 2002, long after leaving wrestling.
Chris Candito – surgical complications, 28th April 2005; history of heavy steroid, GH and painkiller abuse.
Elizabeth Chase – heart attack 29th February 2000 during liposuction surgery.
Brian Cox – heart attack 23rd March 2003; heavy steroid user.
Michael Davis – heart attack 25th December 2001; no history of steroids.
Robbie Dicks – died after hanging in prison, possibly suicide, 18th February 2002.
Dave DiMeglio – heart attack 1st March 2002.
Bobby Duncum Jr – painkiller overdose 24th January 2000; history of steroid use.
Anthony Durante, a.k.a. Pitbull #2 – painkiller overdose 26th September 2003; history of heavy steroid use and dealing.
Mike Durham, a.k.a. Johnny Grunge – heart attack 16th February 2006; morbidly obese and being prescribed so many pills by Dr Phil Astin local pharmacies were turning him away.
Ray Fernandez, a.k.a. Hercules Hernandez – heart attack 6th March 2004; heavy steroid and recreational drug abuse.
Terry Gordy – heart attack 16th July 2001; no history of steroids but heavy painkiller and muscle relaxer abuse.
Edouard Guerrero – heart attack 13th November 2005; history of heavy steroid, GH and painkiller use.
Russell Haas – heart attack, 15th December 2001.
Audie Hager – cancer, 26th December 2003; retired from wrestling.
Emory Hail – kidney failure, 29th January 2006; heavy steroid use.
Owen Hart – accidental death, 23rd May 1999.
Shinya Hashimoto – bleeding in the brain, 11th July 2005.
Michael Hegstrand, a.k.a. Road Warrior Hawk – heart attack, 19th October 2003; heavy steroid and recreational drug abuse.
Curt Hennig – heart attack, 10th February 2003; heavy steroid and recreational drug abuse.
Brian Hildebrand – cancer, 8th September 1999; no drug abuse history.
Elizabeth Hulette – heart attack, 1st May 2003; history of painkiller abuse.
Dan Johnson – liver damage, 20th July 2003; heavy alcohol abuse.
Marlon Kalkai, a.k.a. Tiger Khan – heart attack, 26th June 2006; heavy steroid and painkiller use.
Trae Keller – heart attack, 20th September 2005; heavy steroid user.
Steve King – heart attack, 1998; retired from wrestling by then.
Marianna Komlos, a.k.a. Mrs Cleavage – breast cancer, 4th October 2004.
Michael Lockwood, a.k.a. Crash Holly – drug overdose, 6th November 2003; early healthy reputation dwindled into heavy steroid, painkiller and alcohol abuse.
Michael Lozanski – heart attack, 18th December 2003; heavy steroid and recreational drug use.
Joseph Magliano – possible overdose, 15th October 2006; painkiller addiction but no steroid history.
Gary Mize – heart attack, 22nd November 2002; heavy painkiller use but no steroids.
Louis Mucciolo, a.k.a. Louie Spicolli – heart attack 15th February 1998; heavy steroid, GH and painkiller abuse, plus drug trafficking from Tijuana.
Dean Peters – car accident, 15th December 1998 (graduated same high school class as Boone, Hennig, Rood and Tom Zenk, the latter alone is now alive)
Ted Petty, a.k.a. Rocco Rock – heart attack, 21st September 2002; marginal drug use.
Brian Pillman – heart attack, 5th October 1997; history of heavy GH and recreational drug abuse.
Victor Quinones – heart attack, 2nd April 2006; no steroid history but heavy alcohol and painkiller use.
Jeff Raitz – heart attack, 9th February 2002; heavy steroid use.
Sylvester Ritter, a.k.a. Junkyard Dog – car accident, 1st June 1998; history of drug abuse.
Alex Rizzo, a.k.a. Big Dick Dudley – kidney failure, 16th May 2002; heavy steroid, painkiller and recreational drug use.
Richard Rood – heart attack, 20th April 1999; heavy steroid and painkiller use.
Sherry Russell – possible overdose, 15th June 2007; history of heavy drug abuse.
Peggy Simpson, a.k.a. Bertha Faye – overdose, possibly suicide, 27th June 2001.
Davey Boy Smith – heart attack, 17th May 2002; heavy steroid, painkiller and recreational abuse.
Mitch Snow – suicide, 2000; significant drug history.
Robert Swenson – heart attack, 9th August 1997; heavy steroid abuse.
John Tenta – cancer, 7th June 2006; no history of steroids.
Troy Thompson – died 7th March 2002.
Ray Traylor, a.k.a. Big Bossman – heart attack, 22nd September 2004; no steroids but history of painkiller abuse (travelled with Hennig and Rood)
Tomomi Tsuruta – liver transplant complications, 16th May 2000
Jerry Tuite, a.k.a. The Wall – heart attack, 5th December 2003; heavy steroid and painkiller abuse.
Richard Wilson, a.k.a. The Renegade – suicide, 22nd February 1999; depressed and heavy steroid abuse.
In related notes from the same issue, Vince McMahon is said to have instructed all performers at the 2nd July tapings in Dallas that if they were on anything they should get off it immediately. There has since been a noticeable change in the physiques of certain wrestlers.
Also, ever since Chris Benoit died there has been a grievance counsellor backstage at every WWE show for talent, production workers and office staff to speak with. The mood backstage remains “still far from usual”.
Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, 16th July 2007 (click here for subscription information)
Tags: Other, WWE