WWE wrestler Bray Wyatt dies aged 36

Dwayne Johnson and Triple H lead tributes to father of four

Bray Wyatt became a WWE champion in 2017. Photo: WWE
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Wrestling star Bray Wyatt has died aged 36, WWE announced on Thursday.

Wyatt, real name Windham Rotunda, passed away unexpectedly, according to an article on the company's website. No cause of death was provided.

Sean Ross Sapp, managing editor of news outlet Fightful, said he was told Rotunda died of "heart issues exacerbated by Covid-19" despite previously having made progress towards recovery.

WWE’s chief content officer Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H, confirmed Rotunda's death on X, formerly Twitter, stating: "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. Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”

Rotunda began wrestling in 2009 for Florida Championship Wrestling, before joining WWE's developmental roster at NXT, under the name Husky Harris with Cody Rhodes as his tag partner. In 2012, he formed the Wyatt Family stable alongside Erick Rowan and Luke Harper (Jon Huber), who also died unexpectedly in 2020.

Rotunda, who was also known for his character The Fiend and tag team partnership with wrestler Matt Hardy, won the WWE Championship in 2017 and most recently performed at the Royal Rumble in January.

He came from a family line of wrestlers, including his grandfather Robert Deroy Windham (Blackjack Mulligan), father Mike Rotunda, two uncles Barry and Kendall Windham and brother Taylor Rotunda (Bo Dallas), who all performed in WWE. He is survived by his fiance Joseann Offerman and their two children, as well as his two children with ex-wife Samantha Rotunda.

Tributes poured in from other wrestlers. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson said: "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 the 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 and mana to the Rotunda family and Funk family during this tough, heartbreaking time."

American wrestler The Miz posted on X: "The world lost a good one today. Bray Wyatt’s storytelling ability along with his unique creativity in the ring was a force that kept your eyes glued to the television screen.

"Windham Rotunda’s fun-loving, free spirit paired with his infectious laugh is what I will truly miss the most. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Rotunda family. Rest well my friend."

Updated: August 25, 2023, 6:32 AM