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Wrestling Almanac: Wrestling Obituaries

1898
July 4th: Ismael Yousof, the original Terrible Turk, drowns when the boat he was travelling on, the La Bourgogne, sinks whilst taking him back to Europe, following his American wrestling tour.

1917
December 16th: Frank Gotch dies of uremic poisoning at the age of 39. 1929
January 28th: Hassen "The Terrible Turk" Nuhammed, dies aged 38 near Phoenix, Arizona on his way to see a match between Pat O'Shocker and Casey Berger.

1931
January 9th: Wayne (Big)Munn, 35, recognised as world heavyweight wrestling champion for a short time in 1925 dies in San Antonio, Texas.

1932
May 9th: Dimitri Demetroff, 37,dies of blood poisoning after battling a serious illness for over several months.

1933
March 14th: Jack Hurley is killed in a fall from a 4th floor, mid-town Manhatten hotel room.

April 19th: Dr. Benjamin F. Roller dies of pneumonia at Doctors Hospital, New York City at the age of 57.

June 3rd: W illiam Muldoon, a former Greco-Roman wrestling champion and longtime New York State Athletic Commissioner dies at his home in Purchase, New York, aged 88.

July 13th: La Costa W. (Billy) Severe is killed in a car crash.

1934
Febuary 8th: Longtime promoter John (Doc) Krone dies broke in Chicago. Apparently the 300lb plus promoters' heart gave out on him after his strained to go on a diet.

Febuary 25th: Jack Lewis - The Calafornia Red Devil, dies of a heart attack in the shower following an 80 minute wretling match with Harry Kent in Kalispell, Montana.

March 11th: Tex Wright collapses and dies after a match against Ali Yumid(later known as World Champion, Ali Baba) in Greeley, Colorado. Wright's condition was diagnosed as chronic myocarditis. He was 28.

1936
June 19th: Jim Browning, three years after a four-month World title reign, dies of a pulmonary embolism at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

June 25th: Mike Romano, estimated to be 40, dies after losing a match to Jack Donovan in Washington, D.C. To begin with Donovan was held with suspicion of causing Romano's death but the cause was later found to be coronary occlusion and chronic diseases.

1937
January 8th: Farmer Burns, who apparently was only defeated 6 times in 6,000 matches, dies at Council Bluffs, Iowa at the age of 75.

May 14th: Eddie Baker, a top light heavyweight of the era dies during a match with Ray Welch in Corinth, Mississippi at the age of 36 after suffering heart failure.

July 12th: Legendary wrestling and boxing promoter Jack Curley dies.

1938
April 21st: Phil Taggert dies at the age of 48 in Kansas City after refereeing two matches.

June 10th: Wrestler/Promoter Frank Speer dies of bronchial pneumonia in Atlanta at the age of 32.

1939
Febuary 17th: Chales Harvey, who wrestled as Iben Seleem, dies at the age of 27 in a car crash near Hot Springs, New Mexico.

August 16th: Leo Pardello, a former wrestler and wrestling judge dies in Bellevue Hospital, New York City, after three blood transfusions fail. He was 72.

1944
September 12th: Former World Heavyweight champion, Gustave Adolph (Gus) Sonnenberg dies of leukemia aged 46.

1945
March 3rd: A USO plane crashes in Europe killing wrestlers George Mack, Jack Ross, Lester (Kid) Chapman, Hal Sabath, Gaius W. Young, and Ben Reuben.

1948
September 25th: Joe Lynam is killed in a plane crash near Bend, Oregon at the age of 31.

December 16th: Larry LaBelle, who wrestled as Ali Aliba, is killed in a car crash at the age of 40 near Napolean, Ohio.

1949
August 8th: Ivan (The Terrible) Maximovich Poddubny, who was the acclaimed World champion at Paris in 1905 and went undefeated on the mat for 25 years before losing to Joe Stecher on Febuary 1st 1926 in New York, dies in Moscow, Russia.

1950
January 24th: Original Bull Montanta, a.k.a. Luigi Montagna, dies in L.A.

August 25th: Earl Caddock dies aged 62 after battling a lengthy illness.

1951
May: Curtis "Spike" Peterson dies after suffering a fractured neck in a bout against Sam Abraham.

July: Jeanette Wolf, adopted daughter of women's world champion Mildred Burke, dies following a tag team match in Ohio. Her death is said to have been caused by a stomach rupture and a blood clot on the brain, sustained in a previous bout. She was 18.

1952
October 14th: Don Sugai is killed in a car crash aged 39 near Ontario.

1954
August 4th: Maurice Tillet, a.k.a. The French Angel dies of heart disease at the age of 52 in Chicago.

November 22nd: Roderick (Jess) McMahon(Grandfather of Vincent K. McMahon) dies aged 72 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

1955
January 1st: Jack (Q-Ball) Rush known as the Canadian Angel, collapses and dies between falls of a bout in Daytona Beach, Florida.

1958
June: Doris von Erich's brother, David, dies during an operation which was treating his brain tumor.

1959
Jack Von Erich Jr. dies from electrocution. He was 7.

1961
Febuary 18th: Charles (Chick) Garibaldi dies after a bout with Bruno Sammartino in Sunnyside Gardens, Long Island, New York. He was 46.

1962
April 20th: Longtime San Francisco promoter and former wrestler Joe Malcewicz dies whilst cutting his hedges.

June 23rd: Johnny Demchuk dies of a heart attack during a match he was having against Oliver Windrush in Victoria, British Columbia. He was 49.

1963
December 26th: "Gorgeous" George Wagner dies in Los Angeles of a heart attack after collapsing in his apartment in Hollywood. He was 48.

1964
March 7th: Louis Papineau dies after wrestling Gino Brito to a draw in Garden City, Michigan. He was 36.

October 1st: "Leaping" Larry Chene dies after crashing his car into a telephone pole.

1965
January 16th: Following a match he wrestled in Georgia, Yukon Eric pulls his car up into a church drive way and proceeds to commit suicide by shooting himself with a .22 caliber pistol. He was 41.

1966
March 17th: Chief Don Eagle(Stanislaus Zuplatowicz) dies of a self inflicted gunshot wound. He was 41.

August 7th: Ed "Strangler" Lewis dies in his home at Muskogee, Oklahoma. He was 76.

October 13th: Former World Champion Sandor Szabo dies at the age of 60, following a heart attack in Calafornia.

December 27th: Morris Seigel dies at the age of 69 in Houston. His death came after just celebrating 50 years of wrestling in that city. Paul Boesch, up till that time an associate, takes control of the territory after buying out Siegel's widow.

1967
June 29th: Primo Carnera, a former boxing heavyweight champion turned wrestler dies of cirrhosis of the liver in Italy. He was 60.

September 22nd: Two time former World champion Stanislaus Zbyszko dies in his home aged 88.

December 28th: Wrestling veteran George Drake(Ronald Hogg) is found dead after suffering a heart attack in a San Francisco hotel room.

1968
Febuary 19th: "Russian Lion" George Hackenschmidt, wrestling first real world champion dies in Dulwich, England. He was 90.

March 23rd: Doctor X(Guy Taylor), collapses and dies during a Minneapolis TV match.

1969
January 12th: Jim Hady dies following a six man tag match involving Lord Blears, Tex McKenzie, Ripper Collins, Luke Graham, and Frank Allman at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.

July 2nd: "Iron" Mike DiBiase, father of Ted DiBiase, dies in the ring of a heart attack following a bout with Man Mountain Mike in Lubbock, Texas.

1971
June 16th: Albert Torres dies at Immanuel Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, as a result of internal injuries he sufferd on June 13th wrestling match in Verdigre, Nebraska.

July 23rd: Hercules Cortez, at the time a reigning AWA World tag team champion with Red Bastien, is killed in an auto accident in Minnesota.

1973
June 3rd: Dory Funk Sr. dies at his home in Amarillo, Texas. He was 54.

July 28th: Legendary manager and wrestler "Wild" Red Berry(Ralph Berry)dies in Pittsberg, Kansas at the age of 66.

1974
July 26th: Bob Sweetan is killed when his barbecue explodes in New Brunswick. He was 36.

1975
Febuary 20th: Bobby Shane is killed when a single-engine airplane crashes in Tampa. The plane was piloted by wrestler Buddy Colt, also on the plane were Austin Idol(Mike McCord) and Gary Hart. Shane was 29.

August 19th: Jim Londis dies of a heart attack, aged 78.

October 17th: Ron Dupree dies of a heart attack in the ring whilst doing announcing for Superstar Championship Wrestling.

1976
July 26th: Wrestlers Sam Bass, 41, Pepe Lopez(Rubin Rodriguez), 39, and Frank Hester, 37, all die in a car crash outside Dickson, Tennesse.

1977
March 15th: Argentina Rocca(Antonio Biasetton) reported to be 49 dies in Roosevelt Hospital, New York City, where two weeks earlier he had been admitted for a urinary infection.

1978
June 30th: Michael "Mad Dog" Martel dies of a heart attack i Ponce, Puerto Rico.

November 18th: Eric "The Red" (Hansen), dies at the age of 34 from injuries sustained when he was hit by a car whilst changing a tire.

1979
June 30th: Former NCAA wrestling champion and Olympic bronze medalist Chris taylor dies in his home in Story city, Iowa. He was 29.

1982
June 13th: "High Chief" Peter Maivia dies of cancer in Hawaii. He was 47.

1983
March 11th: Mayes McLain dies at the age of 77.

May 20th: Longtime Toronto promoter Frank Tunney dies of a heart attack in Hong Kong.

May 28th: John Rougeau dies of cancer.

October 12th: Legendary "Manager of Champions" The Grand Wizard, dies in his sleep of a heart attack at his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was 54.

1984
Febuary 10th: David Von Erich dies in his sleep in a hotel room in Tokyo, Japan, press reports state it was of acute enteritis, a severe inflammation of the intestines. There were hints though that his death was drug related. He was 25.

May 22nd: George Zaharias, the famed "Crying Greek from Cripple Creek" dies aged 76 in Tampa, Florida.

May 27th: Vince McMahon Sr. dies.

August 2nd: Argentina Apollo dies.

1985
January 21st: Eddie Graham dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Beach Park, Florida. He was 55.

March 8th: Bull Curry dies aged 70.

September 1st: Jay Youngblood dies in New Zealand after suffering a ruptured spleen and three heart attacks. He was 30.

November 1st: Rick McGraw dies aged 30, in New Haven, Connecticut.

1986
Febuary 4th: Gino Hernandez is found dead in his North Dallas, Texas home. He died of an acute cocaine overdose. He was 29.

March 24th: Warren Bockwinkel dies after a lengthy battle with Alzheimers disease. He was 74.

April 6th: El Solitario dies following a heart attack he sufferd two weeks previously in a wretling match. He was 40.

1987
Febuary 16th: Ann Gunkel dies of cancer aged 50.

April 12th: Mike Von erich commits suicide by overdosing on the tranquilizer Placidyl; he was 23.

August 24th: Malcolm "King Kong" Kirk dies in the ring during a match against Big Daddy(Shirley Crabtree)in Great Yarmouth, England. The 336 lb Big Daddy was in charge of the match at the 10 minute mark and had just slammed Kirk and hit his Big Splash. The ring doctor and several medics ran into the ring when they noticed kirk wasn't moving. They tried for 15 minutes to revive him but were unsucessful.

1988
July 4th: Wrestlers Adrian Adonis, Pat Kelly, and "Canadian Wildman" Dave McKigney are killed when there mini-van plunged over a cliff into a lake in Lewisporte, Newfoundland. The van's driver, wrestler Mike Kelly escaped with a badly crushed leg.

July 17th: Bruiser Brody is stabbed to death in a dressing room prior to a wrestling card in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

September 6th: Leroy Brown dies aged 38. September 9th:Wrestler and promoter Leroy McGuirk dies aged 78.

1989
Febuary 18th: Mildred Burke dies aged 77.

March 7th: Paul Boesch dies aged 76.

September 7th: "Argentinian Bull" Eduardo Perez dies aged 61.

December 7th: William D. "Haystacks" Calhoun dies aged 55 following a lengthy battle with diabetes.

1990
January 7th: Two time former NWA World champion Bronko Nagurski dies aged 81.

Febuary 4th: Two time former NWA World champion Whipper Watson dies aged 74.

Febuary 15th: East coast promoter Mark Tendler dies two days after being shot outside the bar he co-owned in Wadding River, New York. He was 55.

April 18th: Mexican legend Gory Guerrero, father of Mando, Hector and Chavo, dies in El Paso, Texas.

August 16th: Former NWA World champion Pat O'Connor dies of cancer, he was 65.

December 9th: Mike Mazureki dies aged 82.

December 31st: Ed "The Bull" Gantner dies at his parents house in Tampa, Florida. The death is ruled by police as suicide. Gantner was apparently despondent following a lengthy bout with kidney disease, he was 31.

1991
June 30th: Duke Keomuka died of heart failure in Las Vegas. He was 70.

August 25th: Vivian Vachon along with her daughter Julie die after being hit head on in an automoblie collision. Vivian was 40.

September 12th: Chris Von Erich commits suicide by nine-millimeter pistol gunshot in Edom, Texas. He was 21.

October 31st: Gene Anderson dies of a heart attack whilst attending a law enforcement training class in Huntersville, North Carolina, he was 58. Gene shot to fame as one half of the Minnesoata Wrecking Crew, along with his brother Ole Anderson.

November 10th: Dick "The Bruiser" Afflis dies while weight lifting near Tampa, Florida. He was 62.

December 27th: Veteran AWA and WWA star Wilbur Snyder dies of heart failure at Broward County Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; he was 62.

1992
January 6th: Ralph Pulley, a former World Class referee dies of cancer aged 36.

Febuary 7th: "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer dies in his apartment in Sacramento, Calafornia; he was 32.

Febuary 19th: Tojo Yamamoto commits suicide with a .25 caliber automatic pistol at his apartment in Hermitage, Tennesse. Close relatives state he was depressed after his failing health forced him to leave wrestling. He was 65.

April 20th: Wrestling and boxing ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Sr. dies of heart failure. He was 79.

June 26th: Former WWF and NWA World champion Buddy Rogers dies in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, four days after suffering two strokes.

June 30th: Stan Frazier, who competed as Uncle Elmer, Kamala II, and The Convict, dies as the result of complications from diabetes. He was 54.

September 24th: Roy Heffernan, one of the original Fabulous Kangaroos(with Al Costello)dies of a heart attack in Sydney, Australia; he was 67.

November 25th: Wrestling announcer Freddie Miller dies of a heart attack aged 65.

1993
January 27th: Andre The Giant(Andre Rene Roussimoff) dies of a heart attack while in france to attend his father's funeral; he was 46.

Febuary 18th: Kerry Von Erich commits suicide by gunshot from a .44 caliber handgun, one day after being indicted on a cocaine possession charge, he was 33.

March 11th: Dino Bravo is murdered gangland style while sitting in the living room of his home in Laval, Quebec. Police go onto find 17 empty bullet shell casings; he was 44.

March 25th: Promoter Wally Karbo dies of a heart attack aged 77.

June 14th: Don Kent, who competed with Al Costello as one of The Fabulous Kangeroos dies following a lengthy bout with leukemia; he was 61.

October 26th: Oro, from Mexican promotion EMLL, suffers a brain aneurysm after being chopped in the chest and falling to the mat during the first fall of a match at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City. The match continued into the second fall before medics removed Oro from the ring and declared him dead.

November 13th: Rufus R. Jones suffers a heart attack while deer hunting and dies, he was 60.

December 13th: Larry Cameron dies after suffering a heart attack during a bout in Bremen, Germany, against Tony St. Claire; he was 41.

1994
January 14th: Former wrestler and promoter "Slammin'" Sam Menacker, who appeared in such films as "The Wrestler" and "Mighty Joe Young" dies aged 79.

March: Ronnie Etchison dies of natural causes.

March 9th: Manager Eddie Creatchman dies aged 66 of a heart attack in Montreal.

May 23rd: Ray Candy,one half of the Zambuie Express with Leroy Brown, dies of a heart attack aged 43.

July 4th: WWF referee Joey Marella, son of Gorilla Monsoon, dies in a car crash aged 30.

September 1st: Boris Malenko dies after losing a four month battle with cancer, he was 61.

November 23rd: Art Barr dies at the age of 28 from a drug overdose.

1995
January 22nd: Jerry "Crusher" Blackwell dies as a result of complications from pneumonia, he was 45. Febuary 18th: "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert dies of a heart attack in his apartment in Isla, Verde, Puerto Rico; he was 33.

March 20th: "Big" John Studd dies of liver cancer in Fairfax Hospital near his home in Burke, Virginia aged 46. His death came after a 17 month battle with Hodgkin's disease.

May 10th: Ilio Di Paulo, the wrestler who in 1954 defeated boxer Omelio Agramonte in a wrestler Vs boxer match in Haiti, dies after being hit by a car in Buffalo, New York; he was 68.

October 2nd: Former UWF commissioner and San francisco 49er John Ayres dies of liver cancer, he was 42.

December 4th: Midget wrestling legend Little Beaver dies in Montreal following a six month battle with emphysema; he was 61.

1996
May 5th: Ray "The Crippler" Stevens dies of a heart attack in San Francisco; he was 60.

June 15th: Dick Murdoch dies of a massive heart attack at his ranch in Canyon, Texas, he was 49.

July 23rd: UWF founder and promoter Herb Abrams dies of a drug overdose aged 41.

August 23rd: Independent wrestler Neil Superior dies after an altercation with police(they shot him dead) in Ocean City, Maryland; he was 33.

September 10th: Juanita Wright(Sapphire) dies of a heart attack. She was 61.

1997
October 5th: Brian Pillman is found dead in hotel room Bloomington, MN. Toxicology reports reveal that Pillman was suffering from a congenital heart disease which led him to have a heart attack.

December 2nd: Big Daddy(Shirley Crabtree)died at Halifax General Hospital, West Yorkshire, England after suffering a massive stroke. He was 60.

1998
November 29th: Martin Ruane who competed in Great Britain as Giant Haystacks and in WCW as Loch Ness lost a long battle against cancer. He was 52.

December 15th: Brady Boone, a WCW referee, but who had previously worked as a preliminary wrestler and under a mask as Battle Cat in the WWF died in a car crash on a stretch road in St. Peterburg, Florida. He was 40.

December 30th: Legendary promoter Sam Muchnick dies of internal bleeding in St. Louis, Missouri. He was 93.

1999
January 31st: Wrestling legend Shoei "Giant" Baba died of bowel cancer in Tokyo, Japan, aged 61.

April 20th: "Ravishing" Rick Rude is discovered by his wife Michelle unconscious on the floor of their home in Alpharetta, Georgia. He is rushed to hospital, but dies of cardiac arrest the same evening. He was 40.

May 2nd: Wrestling madman Jos LeDuc (Michel Pigeon) dies of a lung infection in Atlanta, Georgia. He was 54.

May 23rd: Owen Hart, youngest of the legendary Canadian wrestling family, dies as a result of a freak accident while working for the WWF. The incident occured during the live broadcast of the pay-per-view event, Over The Edge - fortunately it was not shown on camera. Hart was scheduled to make an elaborate ring entrance via a zipline, unfortunately the stunt went terribly wrong and he ended up falling approximately 50 feet to the ring. He was pronounced dead soon after arrival at the Truman Medical Center as a result of severe neck and head trauma. He was 34 years old.
July 31st: Alex Lovett, 25 (cardiac arrest)
August 9th: Jackie Sato, 41 (cancer in the gastric region)
September 8: Brian Hildebrand, 37 (stomach cancer)
October 6: Robert "Gorilla Monsoon" Marella, 62 (complications from a heart attack)

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