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Toll list has many stars
Some deaths linked to steroids, other drugs
By KEVIN ENGSTROM - Sun Media
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A roll call of prominent wrestlers who have died in the past decade:

2007

- Chris Benoit, 40, and Nancy (Woman) Benoit, 43. The former WWE world champ hanged himself late last month after murdering his wife and their seven-year-old son. Officials have said there was a sizable amount of steroids and prescription drugs in the Benoit house, leading to speculation the killings were a result of "roid rage."

- Sherri Martel (a.k.a. Sherri Russell), 49. The former WWF women's champ and valet for many top stars, Martel died June 15, 2007. A cause of death has not yet been released.

- Mike Awesome (a.k.a. Michael Alfonso), 42. The former ECW champ hanged himself on Feb. 17, 2007.

- Bam Bam Bigelow (a.k.a. Scott Bigelow), 45. The former WWE star died Jan. 19, 2007. Autopsy results showed Bigelow had multiple drugs in his system, including cocaine.

2006

- Earthquake (a.k.a. John Tenta), 42 . The former WWE star died June 7, 2006, after a battle with bladder cancer.

- Johnny Grunge (a.k.a. Michael Durham), 39. One-half of tag team Public Enemy, Durham died of sleep apnea complications on Feb. 16, 2006.

2005

- Eddie Guerrero, 38. The former WWE champion died Nov. 13, 2005, of acute heart failure. Past indulgence in drugs and booze are said to have contributed.

- Chris Candido, 33. The former Body Donna died from a blood clot following surgery on April 28, 2005.

2004

- Big Boss Man (a.k.a. Ray Traylor), 42. The former WWE star died of a heart attack on Sept. 22, 2004.

- Hercules Hernandez (a.k.a. Raymond Fernandez), 46. The former WWF star died in his sleep on March 6, 2004. The cause of death was reported to be heart disease.

2003

- The Wall/Malice (a.k.a. Jerry Tuite). The former WCW and TNA star died of a heart attack on Dec. 27, 2003 at the age of 37.

- Crash Holly (a.k.a. Michael Lockwood), 32. The former WWE star died Nov. 6, 2003 of a prescription drug overdose not long after being released by WWE.

- Road Warrior Hawk (a.k.a. Michael Hegstrand), 46. One half of the Road Warriors, arguably the most popular tag team in wrestling history, Hegstrand died of an apparent heart attack on Oct. 19, 2003. He had admitted past steroid use, as well as other drug and alcohol abuse.

- Pitbull #2 (a.k.a. Anthony Durante). The 36-year-old was one-half of a popular tag team in Extreme Championship Wrestling. He and his wife died Sept. 25, 2003 from drug overdoses.

- Miss Elizabeth (a.k.a. Elizabeth Hulette), 42. The ex-valet died of a drug overdose after mixing medications with booze on May 1, 2003.

- Curt Hennig, 44. The man known as Mr. Perfect died of cocaine intoxication Feb. 10, 2003. His father said a combination of steroids and painkillers contributed.

2002

- Rocco Rock (a.k.a. Ted Petty), 49. The other half of Public Enemy, Petty died of a heart attack on Sept. 21, 2002.

- Davey Boy Smith, 39. The British Bulldog died May 18, 2002, after suffering a heart attack. An autopsy revealed steroid use in his past could have played a role in his death.

2001

- Terry Gordy, 40. Gordy died July 16, 2001 of a heart attack due to a blood clot.

2000

- Yokozuna (a.k.a. Rodney Anoia), 34. Anoia, a former WWF champion, died Oct. 23, 2000. The exact cause of death was never reported, but it's believed the 700-pound-plus man died of complications relating to his weight.

- Bobby Duncum Jr., 34. The former WCW star died of a prescription drug overdose on Jan. 24, 2000.

1999

- Owen Hart, 34. Hart fell to his death during a live WWF pay-per-view event on May 23, 1999, while being lowered from the rafters of an arena during a stunt when his safety harness released early.

- Rick Rude (a.k.a. Richard Rood), 41. The Ravishing One died April 20, 1999 of heart failure. An autopsy showed he died from an overdose of "mixed medications."

1998

- Junkyard Dog (a.k.a. Sylvester Ritter), 45. Ritter died June 2, 1998 in a single-vehicle car wreck after app ar ent ly falling asleep at the wheel.

- Louie Spiccoli (a.k.a. Louis Mucciolo), 28. He died of a prescription drug overdose on Feb. 15, 1998.

1997

- Brian Pillman, 35, died on Oct. 4, 1997. While he had a documented history of abuse of prescription drugs, a previously undetected heart condition was the cause of death, according to an autopsy.

RELATED LINKS

  • Chris Benoit tragedy news section
  • Chris Benoit biography and story archive