He was just 36 years old and preparing to return to WWE after suffering a “life-threatening illness.” Therefore, it came as a shock to sports fans to learn of the cause of Bray Wyatt’s death.
Wyatt, who was born on May 23, 1987 and whose real name is Windham Lawrence Rotunda, was known for his unique and mysterious personality and his ability to engage audiences with his storytelling and the psychological elements of his wrestling character.
His wrestling heritage dates back three generations and is firmly rooted in family tradition. With the legacy of his grandfather, the respected Blackjack Mulligan, his father, the accomplished Mike Rotunda, and even two uncles named Barry and Kendall Windham, it seemed like Wyatt was born for the ring. Wyatt ventured beyond the development phase and made a brief but impactful appearance on the WWE mainline roster in 2010-2011 by taking on the role of the husky Harris. Notably, he joined the Nexus during this time.
After a hiatus that lasted from August 2018 to April 2019, Wyatt returned, bringing with him an entirely new persona — actually, two — who vacillated between two different characters. On the one hand there was the “good side” played by Bray Wyatt, reminiscent of the friendly and welcoming demeanor of Mr. Rogers on children’s television. On the other side lurked “The Fiend”, a nightmarish figure that exudes horror-like vibes and resembles a monstrous and enigmatic clown.
However, Wyatt disappeared from the WWE program in early 2023 during a WrestleMania 39 feud with Bobby Lashley and overcame a “life-threatening illness” that was undisclosed. On August 24, 2023, it was reported that the polarizing wrestling figure had died at the age of 36. Here’s what we know about Bray Wyatt’s cause of death.
Bray Wyatt’s cause of death
Bray Wyatt’s cause of death was reportedly a heart attack. “I’ve been granted permission to reveal that Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) contracted COVID earlier this year and it made his heart problems worse. There has been much positive progress towards a return and recovery. Unfortunately he suffered a heart attack today and passed away,” Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp tweeted. “I encourage readers to respect the family’s privacy whenever possible, but his loved ones wanted some details clarified,” he added below.
On August 24, 2023, WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque announced Wyatt’s death on Twitter. “I just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda, who informed us of the tragic news that our lifelong WWE family member, Windham Rotunda – aka Bray Wyatt – passed away unexpectedly today. Our thoughts are with his family and we ask everyone to respect their privacy at this time,” he wrote.
Paul Wight, aka “The Big Show,” paid a touching tribute to his untimely fallen comrade. “It hasn’t started yet. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t really kicked in yet,” Wight told Denise Salcedo.
“Bray was an incredible talent, just an incredible human being. The thing I remember most and will remember most is every time he saw me; It was a warm hug and a big smile and that laugh and the positive energy he created around him was so special and unique.”
He continued, “Obviously it doesn’t feel real right now.” I mean, it just happened. It doesn’t feel real. Unfortunately, I’ve been in this business for quite a while and I’ve lost a lot of really, really good friends. And it will only take a little time. I think I’ll split up and dive into the work and probably adjust it all when I get home. Only your heart is really dying for his family, his girls… It’s painful.”
Former WWE star and actor John Cena also paid his respects. “Devastated at the news of the death of Windham Rotunda. My condolences to the entire Rotunda family. Windham brought out the best in me in so many ways. I am eternally grateful for the moments we shared. A sad day for all he has reached around the world. RIP,” he tweeted.
In early August, it was reported that Wyatt was preparing for his WWE return. “Wyatt is close to receiving his medical clearance to wrestle, but WWE is taking precautions to ensure his medical condition remains stable following the illness, which they have learned has been both career- and life-threatening at times,” per Wrestling Inc.
“Wyatt’s prospects are said to have improved significantly since then. Not only is Wyatt close to being released, creative plans have already been made for the former WWE Champion, with September mentioned as a possible return.”
In Wyatt’s penultimate Instagram post, shared on December 22, 2023, the wrestler described how he almost lost his uncle to a similar fate. “I usually keep a lot of my outside life separate from everything I do here in the ring. I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m incredibly grateful for the support and love I’ve received since returning and throughout my career,” he said.
“As a kid, I looked at my father, uncles and grandfather, who are all professional wrestlers, like they were Greek gods or something, like they couldn’t feel pain, they were immortal. … as we get older you start to understand that that’s just not the case, that nothing lasts forever. This week in Atlanta, my uncle Barry Windham had a severe heart attack. He went down. And he had no pulse for 10 to 20 minutes.”
Wyatt continued to thank a stranger who performed CPR on his uncle until emergency services arrived. “He’s the reason we have Barry. He’s still alive, he’s with us,” Wyatt continued with a final message to his fans. “Anyone out there hearing this, I hope you believe me: be good to those you love. Always. Remind them how much they mean to you because nothing is forever.”
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