Big Star in Wrestling Is Dead at 36

Bray Wyatt, real name Windham Rotunda, reportedly suffered a heart attack
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2023 12:52 PM CDT
Big Star in Wrestling Is Dead at 36
A screen shot of Bray Wyatt, real name Windham Rotunda.   (YouTube/WWE)

One of the bigger names in World Wrestling Entertainment has died young: Windham Rotunda, who performed under the name Bray Wyatt, died at age 36 on Thursday, reports Yahoo Sports. Rotunda died unexpectedly, wrote WWE chief content officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque on X. The family hasn't released a cause of death, but Kotaku reports he suffered a heart attack. Rotunda hadn't wrestled since January, and a report via says he had been battling COVID, which may have worsened his heart issues. Rotunda assumed various popular personas in the ring, including as the "cultist leader" of the fictional Wyatt family, per Kotaku.

He also wrestled as The Fiend, described by the Washington Post as a "demon clown." Rotunda's death has caught the attention of big names, including actor and former wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who wrote that he was "heartbroken" on X. "Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy world of pro wrestling." Yahoo provides of a sense of that: "Rotunda's entrance was an immersive experience for the crowd at every arena and show, as he carried a lantern during his slow, purposeful walk to the ring—with only fans' cellphone camera's lighting the crowd—drawing some comparisons to that of WWE legend The Undertaker."

Rotunda is survived by fiancee Joseann Offerman, their two children, and two children from a previous marriage. "In the wake of Bray Wyatt's death, WWE will donate all net proceeds to support JoJo Offerman and his children," said the organization, per Wrestling Observer. (Read more obituary stories.)

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