Former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt Dead at 36

Photo: Monica Schipper/FilmMagic

Windham Rotunda, the former WWE champion better known by his ring name Bray Wyatt, has died at age 36. WWE’s chief content officer and head of creative, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, announced the news on social media on Thursday. “Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda [Wyatt’s father] 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,” Levesque wrote. “Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.” No cause of death was initially shared.

Born into the third generation of a family of professional wrestlers, Wyatt was known for his creative characters. In 2010, he joined WWE’s developmental program as Husky Harris. He was part of the Nexus faction that feuded with John Cena, and later debuted as the cult leader of the backwoods-dwelling Wyatt Family. Bray Wyatt eventually also became the kid-friendly foil to another alter-ego known as The Fiend. Over the course of his career, Wyatt was a two-time WWE Universal champion, a WWE champion, and (along with Matt Hardy) a Raw Tag Team Champion. He was popular with fans, reportedly becoming WWE’s top merch seller last year. Yet he spent most of 2023 away from the ring, with rumors that he could not compete due to health reasons. Earlier this month, Fightful Select reported that Wyatt had battled a “life-threatening illness” and was finally readying his WWE return.

“Windham brought the best out of me in so many ways. I’m forever grateful for the moments we shared. Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson was among the stars who reacted to Wyatt’s death by paying tribute online, writing that he was “heartbroken” by the news. “Always had tremendous respect and love for him and the Rotunda family. Loved his presence, promos, in ring work and connection with @wwe universe,” Johnson said. “Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy world of pro wrestling.” John Cena, one of Wyatt’s rivals in the WWE, also shared a reaction online. “Windham brought the best out of me in so many ways,” he wrote. “I’m forever grateful for the moments we shared.” Wyatt is survived by his fiancée, former WWE ring announcer JoJo Offerman, their two children, and two children from a past marriage. Below, find the reactions from various members of the WWE community.

Former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt Dead at 36