Jim Brown, Bobby Hull and the sports figures we’ve lost in 2023

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Bray Wyatt, a third-generation pro wrestler and one of the most creative minds in the biz, died unexpectedly on Thursday, WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque announced on Twitter/X. He was 36.

“Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda who informed us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda — also known as Bray Wyatt — unexpectedly passed earlier today,” the tweet read.

Wyatt, real name Windham Rotunda, was the son of Mike Rotunda — known to WWE fans as Irwin R. Schyster (IRS) — nephew of Barry Windham, brother of Bo Dallas, and husband of former ring announcer JoJo Offerman. He leaves behind four children, two from a previous marriage.

Wrestling insider Sean Ross Sapp reported that the cause of death was a heart attack. Rotunda had been out of action due to illness, which Sapp said was COVID-19.

Rotunda got his start as Husky Harris in WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling, which was later rebranded NXT. He appeared under the moniker on WWE TV before returning to FCW and creating the repackaged Wyatt character.

On the main roster, Rotunda held the WWE title once, the WWE Universal belt twice, and won both the Raw and Smackdown tag titles with Matt Hardy, and Luke Harper and Randy Orton (defending under Freebird Rules), respectively.

As our Sam Fels wrote, no one was more themselves than Bray Wyatt.

“What will be remembered about Wyatt more than anything was that in a company like WWE, where a good portion of the time everything feels the same and formulaic, he always stood out as something completely different,” Fels wrote.

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