WWE star Bray Wyatt has died “unexpectedly” at just 36 years old, his friends and family have announced.
Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda, is known for being one of the most creative minds in professional wrestling.
WWE chief content officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque announced on social media that Wyatt died on Thursday.
Wyatt was with WWE since 2009, save for just over a year in 2021 and 2022 when he was surprisingly released.
He returned to WWE last September with much fanfare and a mysterious storyline, including cryptic vignettes, which helped boost television ratings.
“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,” Levesque wrote on Twitter.
“Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”
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. Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their…
— Triple H (@TripleH) August 24, 2023
The New York Post notes that Wyatt held the WWE championship once and the promotion’s Universal championship twice.
He was also part of two tag-team championship teams.
Wyatt’s cause of death is unknown at this time.
The Post reported that Wyatt had been battling an unnamed “life-threatening illness” earlier this year.
However, he had been medically cleared to compete again just two weeks before his death.
No autopsy has been scheduled as of this writing.
WWE is saddened to learn that Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 24, at age 36.
WWE extends its condolences to Rotunda’s family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/pabVuaKlnP
— WWE (@WWE) August 24, 2023
Following the news, stars took to social media to express their love for Wyatt.
In particular, The Rock and Mick Foley shared their personal perspectives on what made Wyatt unique in sports entertainment.
Im heartbroken over the news of Bray Wyatt’s passing. Always had tremendous respect and love for him and the Rotunda family. Loved his presence, promos, in ring work and connection with @wwe universe.
Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy… pic.twitter.com/i9zlbJIOL3
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 24, 2023
RIP BRAY WYATT. This is awful news, just terribly sad for his family, friends and fans. I thought so highly of Bray Wyatt, and was so flattered when he started using the mandible claw for his finisher. He was a true visionary; one of the most compelling presences that wrestling… pic.twitter.com/gSuDQ1Z12I
— Mick Foley (@foleyispod) August 25, 2023
I’m just in shock. Extremely heart broken And at a loss for words. What I can say is what an amazing human being Windham is. An Amazing & kind friend. one of the most creative minds to ever walk this earth. Windham, you’ve brought so much joy and happiness to everyone around you.… pic.twitter.com/QELzyKKkNI
— Lexi (Kaufman) Cabrera (@AlexaBliss_WWE) August 24, 2023
The world lost a good one today. Bray Wyatt’s story telling ability along with his unique creativity in the ring was a force that kept your eyes glued to the television screen. Windham Rotunda’s fun-loving, free spirit paired with his infectious laugh is what I will truly miss… pic.twitter.com/tV3NJCeVpY
— The Miz (@mikethemiz) August 25, 2023
Absolutely shattered to learn that my friend, Windham Rotunda, has passed away. It’s devastating to think he left us at only 36 years young. My condolences go out to his family, wife & children. I’m so sorry, my compeer. Miss you already. pic.twitter.com/AVNuOTjdsx
— MATT HARDY (@MATTHARDYBRAND) August 24, 2023
Man…the first dude that took me under his wing when I got signed in 2009. We spent so much of our adult lives together. Praying for Jojo. Praying for his kids. I will miss your laugh & your boyish charm, my friend. Goodbye, Windham.
— Ettore “Big E” Ewen (@WWEBigE) August 24, 2023
In FCW Windham gave me a list of movies & documentaries to watch & pitch from. He wanted me to be in the family. I think he believed in me more than I did in myself at that time. I learned so much from him creatively but he was just a good good human. ❤️💔 So smart.This is so sad
— Summer Rae (@DanielleMoinet) August 24, 2023
I can’t believe I’m typing this. But RIP Windham. I knew you day 1 of moving to America, you were the biggest sweetheart and were loved by everyone who met you. I’m in shock.. sending all my love to the Rotunda family.
— SARAYA (@Saraya) August 24, 2023
Wyatt is survived by his fiancée, former WWE ring announcer JoJo Offerman, and their two children and two children from a previous relationship.