Wrestler's family cope with death
Family, friends and fans worldwide mourn the tragic loss of wrestling legend Davey Boy Smith
By MICHAEL WOOD --
Friends, family and the entire world of wrestling is mourning the loss of the British Bulldog, a loving father and famed grappler poised on the brink of a comeback.
Davey Boy Smith, in Fairmont, B.C., for a weekend getaway with his girlfriend, Andrea Hart, died Saturday morning at a friend's home while Andrea lay beside him.
She cradled him in her arms, crying until an emergency crew arrived. Attempts to revive the 39-year-old man were unsuccessful.
His body was transported to Cranbrook, B.C., for an autopsy, where it remained last night.
On the phone from Fairmont, Andrea wept several times as she described the famous wrestler, whom she grew to call her best friend in the world.
Two weeks ago, he told Andrea he wanted to marry her.
"I loved him very much, I know he loved me and I know I'm really going to miss him," she told the Sun.
"I think I just lost my soulmate," she added softly between sobs.
From his home in Golborne, near Warrington, England, Smith's heartbroken father, Sid, described his boy as a loving son, one to be proud of.
"I can't get over this," the 63-year-old man said solemnly.
Sid said he may decide to bring his son's body home for burial, although he would discuss it with family in Canada.
Davey Boy Smith was born David Smith in England on Nov. 27, 1963.
He lived in Golborne, where he grew up with his dad, mother, Joyce, his brother, Terrence and sisters, Joanne and Tracy.
He began wrestling at an early age before following his cousin -- Tom Billington, the Dynamite Kid -- to Calgary, where he grappled for Stampede Wrestling.
In 1984 he married Diana Hart of Calgary's famed wrestling family, and had two children together, Harry, 15, and Georgia, 14.
Friends say he was working hard towards making a comeback to the ring, spending several hours a week at the gym pumping iron.
"I just talked to him Thursday night, and a whole bunch of promoters have been calling me non-stop about booking him," said Bobby Jay, promoter for Top Rope Championship Wrestling.
"He was in good spirits, he seemed fine, he looked great ... I don't believe it, I'm just shocked."
Smith, who rose to fame as one of the British Bulldogs, fought his last match at the Southdale Community Centre in Winnipeg on May 11.
The night before, he wrestled with son Harry in Brandon, Manitoba.
"It was fun wrestling with him," said Harry.
The matches were Smith's first in 16 months, after the wrestler was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident.
His estranged wife said he and Harry were planning to become the first father-son tag team and were hoping to discuss a WWE card with Vince McMahon during a Smackdown event in Calgary next week.
Tributes began flooding wrestling websites early yesterday, after his death was reported.
Former WWE champion Bret Hart said "it is like losing a brother."
At the World Wrestling Entertainment site, an unatributed message said the company was saddened to confirm the death of their former "Superstar."
"As the British Bulldog, Smith had a stellar career, becoming an Intercontinental, Tag Team, European and Hardcore Champion," the statement read.
"Everyone's in shock," World Wrestling Entertainment official Jack Lanza said yesterday as he was about to board a plane for Memphis, Tenn.
Lanza, a WWE road agent, had worked closely with Smith for many years.
"My heart goes out to Davey's family," said Bill Moody, better known as Paul Bearer.
"Davey was a tremendous athlete, performer and a good friend.
"I can't help but think of Owen Hart."
This Thursday, May 23, will be the third anniversary of Owen's passing.
"May his soul rest in peace."
The last five years haven't been too kind to the Bulldog as he battled an addiction to prescription drugs, a messy and very public divorce with Diana, and a serious, almost fatal, motorcycle accident.
Since 2000, he has been in a relationship with Andrea, Bruce Hart's estranged wife.
Smith is survived by his children, father, his brother Terrence, and sister Joanne.
Funeral arrangements have not been made yet.