The professional wrestling world is mourning the sudden death of Windham Rotunda, widely recognized by his ring name, Bray Wyatt, at the age of 36. The news was announced by Paul Levesque, WWE’s chief content officer, who expressed his shock and sadness over the unexpected passing of the three-time WWE champion.
Rotunda, who had re-signed with WWE last year, was celebrated for his return at WWE Extreme Rules on October 8, 2022. He was involved in a storyline featuring a character known as “Uncle Howdy,” but was discreetly removed from WWE programming in late February due to speculated injuries.
The news of Rotunda’s death was relayed to Levesque by WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda, Windham’s father. Levesque, also known as Triple H, shared the news on social media, asking for respect for the family’s privacy during this difficult time. As reported by Sean Ross Snap, Wyatt died of a heart attack. Snap posted to X, “I was given permission to reveal that earlier this year Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) got COVID that exacerbated a heart issues. There was a lot of positive progress towards a return and his recovery. Unfortunately today he suffered a heart attack and passed away.”
Windham Rotunda was part of a wrestling dynasty. His father, Mike Rotunda, was a former WWE wrestler known as Irwin R. Schyster (IRS), and his younger brother, Taylor Michael Rotunda, wrestled as Bo Dallas. It is speculated that Taylor is currently signed to WWE and was working alongside his brother in the “Uncle Howdy” storyline.
Rotunda’s wrestling lineage also includes his grandfather, Blackjack Mulligan (Robert Windham), and uncles Barry Windham and Kendall Windham. His wrestling career was marked by his innovative character portrayals, pushing the boundaries of character development in professional wrestling.
Rotunda began his WWE career in 2009 as Husky Harris, a relatively generic character. He was later rebranded as Bray Wyatt, the eerie cult leader of the Wyatt Family, a portrayal that captivated fans worldwide. His character later evolved into The Fiend, a masked, sinister entity that became a central figure in WWE programming.
Throughout his career, Wyatt won the WWE championship and two tag team championships. He had memorable matches with legendary superstars Randy Orton and John Cena at two of WWE’s biggest events. His death comes less than three years after the passing of his close friend Jonathan Huber, also known as Luke Harper and AEW wrestler Brodie Lee.