17 WWE Superstars who tragically died before turning 35
Several WWE Superstars have tragically passed away at a young age. For example, Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero died of acute heart failure aged only 38. Former Diva Search Winner Ashley Massaro also passed away in her late 30s in May 2019.
Over the past few decades, a few other superstars sadly died in their 20s and early 30s. One of these wrestlers tragically passed away earlier this year, only four months after celebrating her 30th birthday.
Here are 17 superstars who tragically died before turning 35.
#17. Jojo Andrews
In 1975, 19-year-old Jojo Andrews kicked off his professional wrestling career. A year later, he made his WWE (then WWWF) debut. He wrestled for the company for about a year before leaving in 1977.
Nevertheless, Andrews returned to WWE in 1979 to spend another year before leaving again in 1980. During his time in the company, Andrews competed against several legends, including Tony Atlas, Pat Patterson, and Tito Santana.
Nearly two years after leaving the Stamford-based company, Andrews tragically passed away when he was only 26 years old.
#16. Russ Haas
After competing in a few promotions, Russ Haas and his brother Charlie signed developmental contracts with WWE in 2000. While wrestling in the company's developmental brand at the time, MCW, The Haas Brothers won the MCW Tag Team Championships three times.
The Haas Brothers also performed at live events and on Jakked and Sunday Night Heat between 2000 and 2001. However, Russ tragically passed away aged 27 on December 15, 2001, after suffering heart failure in his sleep.
Russ' brother Charlie later made it to the main roster, where he won the Tag Team Championships three times.
#15. Louie Spicolli
Between 1988 and 1995, Louie Spicolli made several appearances in WWE as an enhancement talent. However, the company repackaged him in April 1995 as Rad Radford. Despite this, the California native still failed to get over with the fans and was released in 1996.
Later that same year, Spicolli started competing in ECW before signing with WCW in 1997. On February 15, 1998, five days after his 27th birthday, Spicolli reportedly died of a drug overdose.
#14. Lance Cade
In 2001, Lance Cade signed a developmental contract with WWE. About two years later, he made his main roster debut on Monday Night RAW. The Iowa native spent nearly seven years in the Stamford-based company, during which he formed a successful tag team with Trevor Murdoch, winning the World Tag Team Championships three times.
However, the company released Cade from his contract in October 2008. Over the next two years, he wrestled on the independent circuit and in Japan. He re-signed with WWE in late 2009 and made a few appearances in developmental before the company let him go again in April 2010.
Nearly four months after his second release, Cade tragically died from mixed drug intoxication aged 29.
#13. Sara Lee
After winning the 2015 Tough Enough competition, Sara Lee earned a $250,000 one-year contract with WWE. She then reported to the Performance Center to start her training. Over the next year, she competed in a few matches at NXT's live events, sharing the ring with superstars like Mandy Rose, Liv Morgan, and Emma.
However, Lee left the company after her one-year contract expired and stepped away from in-ring competition. The 2015 Tough Enough winner and former superstar Wesley Blake tied the knot in 2017. Over the next few years, the couple had three children together.
Earlier this month, Lee tragically passed away about four months after celebrating her 30th birthday.
#12. Pierre Lefebvre
Pierre Lefebvre made his first appearance in WWE (then WWWF) in 1977 when he suffered defeat against The Golden Terror. Nearly seven years later, he returned to the company to compete for the Intercontinental Championship against Akira Maeda. Nevertheless, Lefebvre also lost the bout. That same year, he had another match in which he defeated Armand Rougeau.
In 1985, Lefebvre competed in a few matches at live WWE events. He also had two other shots at the Intercontinental Championship against Tito Santana but failed to capture the title.
In December 1985, Lefebvre, alongside former WWWF World Tag Team Champion Tarzan Tyler and referee Adrien Desbois, tragically died in a car accident. Lefebvre was only 30 when he passed away.
#11. Rick McGraw
After wrestling in a few promotions, including NWA and GCW, Rick McGraw debuted in WWE in 1980. He competed in the company for about two years, during which he also wrestled in other promotions, before leaving in 1982. He later returned in 1984.
However, the North Carolina native tragically passed away after suffering a heart attack in November 1985. He was only 30.
#10. Steve Bradley
In 1998, Steve Bradley signed a multi-year developmental contract with WWE. Over the next few years, he mainly competed in the company's developmental brands and won the HWA Tag Team Championship four times.
However, the company released Bradley from his developmental contract in July 2002. Following his departure, he wrestled on the independent circuit for nearly three years before stepping away from in-ring competition in 2005. Three years later, Bradley sadly passed away aged 32.
#9. Crash Holly
Crash Holly signed with WWE in 1998. He spent about five years in the Stamford-based company, during which he won the Hardcore Championship, the European Championship, the Light Heavyweight Championship, and the Tag Team Championships alongside Hardcore Holly.
In June 2003, the company released Crash Holly from his contract. Over the next few months, he competed in IMPACT Wrestling (fka Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) and on the independent circuit. However, the former Hardcore Champion sadly passed away on November 6, 2003, aged 32.
#8. Buzz Sawyer
Between the late 1970s and early 1990s, Buzz Sawyer wrestled in several promotions, including NWA, UWF, and WCWA. He also had a brief run in WWE in 1984, during which he competed in seven matches. He won five and lost one, while the seventh ended in a draw.
In February 1992, Sawyer passed away aged 32 after suffering heart failure due to a drug overdose.
#7. Chris Candido
After kicking off his wrestling career in the mid-1980s, Chris Candido competed in a few promotions, including Eastern Championship Wrestling and Smokey Mountain Wrestling. In 1995, he and his girlfriend, WWE Hall of Famer Sunny, signed with the Stamford-based company.
However, Candido's run in the Stamford-based company lasted only a year. He then left in late 1996. Over the next nine years, he wrestled in other promotions, including IMPACT Wrestling (fka Total Nonstop Action Wrestling), WCW, NJPW, and ECW. He also competed on the independent circuit. In April 2005, Candido passed away aged 33.
#6. Eddie Gilbert
After kicking off his wrestling career in 1977, Eddie Gilbert wrestled in several promotions, including CWA, UWF, and WCW.
The Tennessee native also had a two-year run in WWE between 1982 and 1984, during which he shared the ring with legends such as Bob Backlund, Mr. Perfect, and Roddy Piper.
In February 1995, Gilbert tragically passed away after suffering a heart attack in his apartment in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. He was only 33.
In 1998, Test debuted in WWE. He spent about six years in the Stamford-based company and won several titles, including the Intercontinental Championship, the European Championship, and the Hardcore Title.
Although he was released from his contract in 2004, Test returned to the company in 2006. Nevertheless, the company let him go again about a year later. Following his departure, the former Intercontinental Champion wrestled briefly in IMPACT Wrestling (fka Total Nonstop Action Wrestling).
In March 2009, Test sadly passed away due to an accidental overdose only four days before his 34th birthday.
#4. WWE Hall of Famer Kerry Von Erich
Kerry Von Erich wrestled for over a decade in NWA Texas and other promotions before joining WWE in 1990. He spent two years in the company, during which he won the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship once. However, he left the company in August 1992.
About a year following his departure from the Stamford-based company, Kerry Von Erich tragically took his own life. He was only 33.
#3. Adrian Adonis
After a brief run in AWA, Adrian Adonis joined WWE in 1981. He spent about six years in the Stamford-based company and won the World Tag Team Championships alongside Dick Murdoch. However, the New York native left in 1987 to rejoin AWA.
About a year later, Adonis tragically died in a car accident. He was only 34 when he passed away.
#2. Owen Hart
After a short run in WWE between 1988 and 1989, Owen Hart wrestled for two years in other promotions, including WCW. He then returned to the Stamford-based company in 1991.
Hart's second run lasted about seven years, during which he won several titles, including the Intercontinental Championship and the European Title. He also won the 1994 King of the Ring tournament.
On May 23, 1999, Hart suffered a tragic accident that saw him fall 78 feet from the rafters, landing chest-first on the ropes during the Over the Edge pay-per-view event. He died 16 days after celebrating his 34th birthday.
#1. WWE Hall of Famer Yokozuna
In 1992, Yokozuna joined WWE. Over the next six years, he won the WWE Championship twice and the Tag Team Championships twice, alongside Owen Hart.
In May 1998, the company released Yokozuna from his contract because of his weight and heart issues. Following his departure, the Hall of Famer wrestled for about two years on the independent circuit. However, he tragically died from pulmonary edema in October 2003, three weeks after his 34th birthday.