Tragic Final Words Wrestlers Said Before They Died

Pro wrestlers entertain their fans with high-risk and death-defying moves in the squared circle; however, these superstars are mortal like anyone else and must face the grim reaper at some point or other. Like with any individual, their families, friends, or even fellow performers may not know they are sharing their last conversations until it's too late. There are some final words that hit harder than others, though, especially taking into consideration the heartbreaking circumstances surrounding how the wrestlers died.

When Owen Hart fell to his death, his first instinct was to look out for others. For Shad Gaspard, he expressed only concern for his son as he was pulled in by the raging seas. Others, like Roddy Piper and Randy Savage, somehow sensed the end was near and found the words to verbalize it to others, alerting them that all was not well.

Ultimately, death is never an easy topic to discuss or remember. Sometimes, though, by looking back on these tragic events, it does help to put life in perspective and to encourage everyone to hold their loved ones near and dear, because no one knows when their last day on Earth will arrive.

Owen Hart

A member of the legendary Hart wrestling family, Owen Hart played a pivotal part in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) throughout the '90s. Whether he feuded with his brother Bret or teamed up with his fellow members from Camp Cornette to wreak havoc, Hart electrified the audience with his stylish mix of high-flying and technical mat wrestling. 

At the 1999 Over the Edge pay-per-view held in Kansas City, Missouri, Owen Hart died a tragic, in-ring death as a pre-planned flashy entrance went horribly wrong. Wrestling as the Blue Blazer, the performer was meant to descend from the rafters before his match against the Godfather for the Intercontinental Championship. However, the release mechanism connecting his harness to the rope gave way as the wrestler plummeted from the top of the arena and crashed onto the ring ropes, narrowly missing referee Jimmy Korderas. Hart was pronounced dead a few minutes later.

Appearing on the "Dark Side of the Ring" episode "The Final Days of Owen Hart," wrestling manager and on-screen personality Jim Cornette stated: "When Owen was falling, everybody that was there said the last thing that he yelled was, 'Look out!'" According to Cornette, this was yet another example of the kind of person Hart was at his core. Even when he knew the end was near for him, he considered the safety of others. 

Sadly, Hart wasn't the only wrestler who died in the ring.

Shad Gaspard

In late '00s WWE, Shad Gaspard made a name for himself as part of the tag team Cryme Tyme, along with his partner JTG. The pair played goofy criminals who would do everything from scalping tickets outside of the arena to stealing other wrestlers' personal items. Despite their comedic personas, both Gaspard and JTG were talented in-ring performers and more than held their own in an era stacked with superstars such as John Cena and Triple H.

In May 2020, the 39-year-old Gaspard encountered rough ocean conditions in Venice Beach and subsequently drowned. According to The New York Times, the professional wrestler and his 10-year-old son, Aryeh, were swimming in the ocean when the currents turned turbulent. An on-duty male lifeguard noticed the incident and rushed into the sea to pull them out. Since Aryeh was closer, the lifeguard managed to get to him first. However, when he went back for Gaspard, the wrestler disappeared under a massive wave. Gaspard's body was found on the beach three days later.

According to the chief of the lifeguard division, Kenichi Haskett, Gaspard's only concern was for the safety of his son as he urged the lifeguard to help Aryeh. "His last few words were 'just secure my son, rescue my son,'" Haskett said.

Eddie Guerrero

Widely regarded as one of the greatest in-ring performers of all time and a generational talent, Eddie Guerrero reached the top of the WWE mountain in 2004, winning his sole WWE Championship after defeating Brock Lesnar at the No Way Out pay-per-view. Even after losing the title a while later, he continued to be a beloved performer among fans as "Latino Heat" would lie, cheat, and steal his way to victory. In November 2005, the wrestling world received a major shock after the 38-year-old Guerrero died of a heart attack. Later, it was confirmed that Guerrero had a heart disease exacerbated by years of using steroids as well as the recent usage of pain medication.

At the time of his death, Guerrero was staying at a Minneapolis hotel in preparation for an upcoming WWE show. However, after he failed to answer his wake-up call that morning, his nephew, Chavo Guerrero, and security made their way into his room, only to find him dead. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Guerrero's final words were spoken to his wife, Vickie. Reportedly, the couple chatted at 2:30 in the morning, just before he went to bed, when he took the opportunity to express his love for her.

Antonio Inoki

Antonio Inoki remains one of the most important and prominent names in Japanese and global pro wrestling as a whole. As an all-star performer and promoter, his love for sports entertainment shone through in everything he did, which even saw him take on legend Muhammad Ali in a wrestling vs. boxing contest. As a revered name in the industry and one of the people responsible for turning New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) into a force to be reckoned with, his death was always going to hit fans of the sport harder than most others.

In 2022, Inoki died at the age of 79, with NJPW revealing the cause to be amyloidosis, a disease that affects the organs. Before his death, a 10-minute video was released of him in the hospital where he addressed his fans. In the footage, Inoki admitted that he didn't want people to see him in that condition, but he wanted to address those wondering about him. Toward the end of the video, the cameraman told him that everyone was rooting for him. In cheerful fashion, Inoki said, "This voice that I have is my number one rival. But as long as one has an adversary to push you on, isn't that a good thing?"

Daffney Unger

Wrestling fans remember Shannon Spruill, better known as Daffney Unger, from her time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Total Nonstop Action (TNA), and on the independent circuit. Daffney's career was cut short by concussions, and the wrestler went on record to explain how this had a significant impact on her daily life. In September 2021, Daffney went live on Instagram and had friends, family, and fans concerned about her wellbeing.

In the footage (via Slam Wrestling), Daffney held a gun while she discussed a number of topics including concussions and the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Visibly shaken, she burst into tears several times, while her phone buzzed in the background, likely due to concern from her friends and family watching the troubling video.

Before the video ended, Daffney addressed her viewers, saying, "Thank you. I love you all, too, but I can't. I can't. I'm alone." Because of the nature of the video, authorities were sent over to her home to check up on her. She had died by suicide at the age of 46.

Randy Savage

"Macho Man" Randy Savage ran wild in the '80s. Even though the focus may have been on Hulk Hogan as the face of pro wrestling in that era, every fan, pundit, and performer recognized the extraordinary abilities of Savage both on the microphone and in between the ropes. After jumping ship from WWE to WCW in the '90s, Savage continued to capture the attention of the world with his over-the-top wrestling persona and buckets of charisma. One of his most high-profile appearances came in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man," where he plays Bonesaw McGraw — essentially a prototype version of the "Macho Man" character.

By 2011, Savage was no longer an active wrestler, living a quiet life out of the spotlight. This all changed on May 20, when Savage died of heart disease, as per his autopsy results. This caused him to lose consciousness while driving the car that carried him and his wife, Lynn. Savage's wife only suffered minor injuries in the resultant accident after her husband passed out at the wheel.

As per Bleacher Report, Savage told his wife he was feeling unwell that morning. Lynn thought nothing of it, thinking he only needed to eat breakfast. However, she noticed he still didn't look himself after they had stopped at a restaurant for a meal, and she offered to drive. Savage declined. According to Lynn, he told her, "I think I'm going to pass out," which proved to be his last words. He was 58 years old.

Brodie Lee

Jon Huber became a household name as Luke Harper, a sinister member of the cult-like Wyatt Family, on WWE television. In December 2019, however, Huber departed WWE. He would reappear in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) a few months later under the moniker of Brodie Lee — a name that Huber had used in his early wrestling days. Lee made an instant splash, being revealed as the leader of the burgeoning faction known as the Dark Order and winning the TNT Championship from Cody Rhodes.

Despite making a fast start to life in AEW, Lee disappeared from the screens a few months later. In December 2020, it was announced that Lee had died. His wife, Amanda, revealed on the "AEW Unrestricted" podcast that he had died from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. At the same time, Amanda also shared heartwarming stories about Lee and their kids. She revealed how their son Brodie wanted to dress up as AEW wrestler Orange Cassidy for Halloween; however, Amanda pointed out that Cassidy only wears sunglasses and a denim jacket, so that isn't really a costume. When she visited her husband in the hospital, she told him how Brodie was upset with her for not buying him the denim jacket.

"I'm not even joking when I say one of the last spoken words my husband said to me was, 'Go buy him a f***ing denim jacket,'" she said, recalling how she did exactly that after she left the hospital.

The Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior flexed his way into WWE folklore; however, he had numerous issues with the company before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. In fact, it seemed all but impossible that they would work together again, but the relevant parties managed to put aside their differences and come together to honor the legacy of the man billed as "hailing from Parts Unknown."

After appearing at the Hall of Fame ceremony, Warrior stopped by "Monday Night Raw" on April 7. Going out in front of the live crowd, he cut one of his typical nonsensical promos that only he could understand. Nothing too out of the ordinary for anyone who watched him in the '80s and '90s, really. He closed off his speech by saying, "I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever."

This would prove to be one of his final statements, as Warrior died a day later. Warrior was walking with his wife, Dana, to the car when he passed out and was taken to a hospital, but it was too late. The details found in the Ultimate Warrior's autopsy report revealed he died from cardiovascular disease. He was 54 years old.


Joanie Laurer, aka Chyna, broke the mold for female performers in WWE as she defied the traditional model of how women were seen and presented on wrestling television. Billed as "The Ninth Wonder of the World" (Andre the Giant was seen as the eighth by the wrestling promotion), Chyna became the first woman to hold the Intercontinental Championship and formed a critical part of the legendary faction D-Generation X, becoming one of the biggest stars of the company's Attitude Era.

In April 2016, however, news broke that Chyna had died. According to the autopsy report (via Los Angeles Times), her cause of death was related to a combination of alcohol, muscle relaxants, and painkillers. She was 46 years old.

A year later, documentary filmmaker Erik Angra shared the last voicemail he received from Chyna with People. Angra had been filming a documentary about her life, and the pair had been in regular communication. In the message, which is believed to be one of her final communications with anyone, Chyna tells Angra that she planned on going to rehab, while also asking the filmmaker how he was doing. She ends the nearly four-minute message by saying, "Love you. Bye."

Doink the Clown

Matt Osborne struggled to make a name for himself in the professional wrestling business until he put on clown makeup. As the villainous Doink the Clown, Osborne tickled the audience's fancy with a gimmick that hadn't been seen on television before. Although he never won a major championship, he remained a mainstay of WWE programming in the early '90s.

In June 2013, the 55-year-old Osborne died of an accidental drug overdose. While Osborne had a history of addiction, his daughter Teagan and ex-wife, Michelle James, suggested something far more nefarious could have been at play involving his girlfriend, Connie Cook, in the "Dark Side of the Ring" episode, "What Happened to Doink the Clown?"

According to them, James had spoken to Osborne the night before he died. He informed her that he was leaving his girlfriend and that if something were to happen to him, she must take it further. "I said, 'Matt, what are you talking about? Why would you say that?' He went, 'Seriously, don't let it go.'" Cook denied any wrongdoing in the death of Osborne.

Roddy Piper

Film buffs know "Rowdy" Roddy Piper for his turn as John Nada in John Carpenter's "They Live." However, true culture connoisseurs appreciate him for being one of the greatest on-screen bad guys in professional wrestling history. Look no further than his epic feud with Mr. T in the mid '80s to see exactly what he was all about. "Hot Rod" loved to torment his opponents and bend the rules to his advantage, becoming a dastardly figure in both WWE and WCW. Even when Piper played a heroic role, everyone knew a swerve was around the corner when it came to him. (To learn more about the iconic wrestler, read our feature Details You Never Knew About Rowdy Roddy Piper.)

In July 2015, Piper died in his sleep at the age of 61. As per The Washington Post, his official cause of death was listed as a heart attack due to a blood clot. Speaking on his "Something to Wrestle" podcast, Piper's friend and wrestling executive Bruce Prichard revealed he received a voicemail from "Hot Rod" the evening before he died. Prichard explained how Piper wasn't the kind of person who would complain about his health; however, that day he told him he was feeling unwell. "He said, 'Because I'm not feeling well, I'm tired, I'm gonna go to bed. I just wanted to call and tell you I love you.' That was one of the last calls he made," Prichard said.

Bruiser Brody

Frank Goodish, better known by his stage name Bruiser Brody, lived up to his wrestling moniker, utilizing a bruising style in the ring to punish his opponents. He's also one of the wrestlers who died under suspicious circumstances. In 1988, Brody died after he was stabbed several times in the shower by fellow performer José González in Puerto Rico. Reportedly, González had asked Brody to meet him by the showers to talk, then pulled out a concealed knife to stab Brody. González claimed he acted in self-defense and was acquitted of the charges.

After hearing the commotion, other wrestlers and promoter Carlos Colon ran to see what had unfolded backstage. Throughout the years, Tony Atlas has recalled his version of events on that fateful day, and he did it once again on the "Monte & The Pharaoh" podcast. Atlas was with Brody and revealed what were some of the performer's final words before he succumbed to his wounds. "Carlos [came] over and asked Brody, 'Anything I can do for you?' Brody said, 'Take care of my family.'"

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