Windham Rotunda, aka WWE superstar Bray Wyatt, dies at 36 – NBC Los Angeles

Windham Rotunda, a WWE superstar who, under the ring name Bray Wyatt, was regarded as one of the most innovative performers in professional wrestling during the past decade, died Aug. 24, WWE announced. Rotunda was 36.

Triple H, a WWE legend and the company’s chief content officer, announced Rotunda’s death on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“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,” Triple H, whose real name is Paul Levesque, wrote. “Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”

No cause of death was given.

Rotunda came from a wrestling family that includes his father, Mike Rotunda, who achieved fame with WWE in the 1990s under the ring name IRS.

Rotunda established himself as a top-tier performer in WWE after he was introduced as Bray Wyatt on the company’s “Raw” program in 2013. Initially, the Wyatt character was the leader of the Wyatt Family, a cultish group that also included Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. (Harper, whose real name was Jon Huber, died in 2020 at the age of 41.) Their entrance was as mesmerizing as it was haunting — in darkness, with Wyatt carrying a lantern, flanked by his two followers, as they walked slowly and with purpose to the ring.

Wyatt would eventually evolve into an even more sinister character known as the Fiend, who wore a demonic mask and would attack superstars unexpectedly. The Fiend was creepy, frightening and, undoubtedly, one of the most interesting personas in WWE at the time.

Rotunda, as Wyatt, would further reinvent himself in October 2022 when he appeared at an event wearing a different mask — but with the familiar lantern, drawing loud cheers from the crowd. The Wyatt character was last seen on WWE TV early this year.

Rotunda’s accomplishments in WWE include multiple championship reigns and high-profile feuds with the likes of John Cena, the Undertaker, Randy Orton and, in one memorable WrestleMania moment, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Following news of Rotunda’s death, Johnson posted on X, “I’m 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 world of pro wrestling,” he added

This article first appeared on More from TODAY:

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