Former Trojan Windham Rotunda/Bray Wyatt passes away
Published 6:04 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) confirmed on Aug. 24 that Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, has passed away. Rotunda played college football at Troy University.
Rotunda, just 36 years old, has been away from the WWE for months for “medical reasons” but the news of his passing still comes as a shock.
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,” WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque said. “Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”
Rotunda, who grew up in Brooksville, Fla., is a wrestling legacy. His father, Mike Rotunda, wrestled as IRS for the WWE in the 1980s and 1990s, while his grandfather is the legendary Blackjack Mulligan of The Blackjacks tag team. His uncle is also the legendary Barry Windham, who was a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion and WWE Hall of Famer as a member of the Four Horsemen faction. Rotunda’s brother, known as Bo Dallas, also wrestled for WWE for many years.
Rotunda was a high school football star at Hernando High School as an all-state offensive lineman. He was also a successful amateur wrestler, winning a state championship at 275 pounds. After high school, he started his college football career at the junior college (JUCO) level for the College of the Sequoias in California. He ended up earning JUCO All-American honors at offensive guard.
Rotunda transferred to Troy University in 2007. After playing at Troy for two years, Rotunda opted to leave school to pursue a career in professional wrestling. Even after leaving Troy, Rotunda continued to support the Trojans and even provided voiceovers for Troy hype videos in the past.
Rotunda signed with the WWE in 2009 under a development contract and debuted under the Husky Harris persona. He would go on to join the Legacy faction with legendary WWE star Randy Orton alongside other second-generation wrestlers like Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes. He would find his most success, however, under the Bray Wyatt persona beginning in 2012.
Wyatt would again reinvent himself 2019 as the masked character “The Fiend.” He continued to wrestle for the WWE until being released in 2021. He returned to the company in 2022 and last appeared for the WWE in February of this year.
During Rotunda’s WWE career, he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, twice won the WWE Universal Championship and was a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion. Rotunda and his wife JoJo have two children and Rotunda also has two children from a previous marriage.
The cause of Rotunda’s death was revealed to have been due to a heart attack, according to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com. Sapp said that a family member gave him permission to release the cause of death. According to Sapp, Rotunda had underlying heart problems that a bad case of COVID-19 worsened earlier this year. Though Rotunda was believed to have recovered in recent months, he suffered a severe heart attack on Aug. 24 that led to his death.