Wrestling has seen more than its fair share of tragedies. As a combat sport, its performers risk their lives to perform for live crowds multiple times a week. Often times, wrestlers are on the road away from their families. Wrestlers go on to miss out on their kids' sports events and weddings, and sometimes do not get to spend enough time with family before one of their family members unexpectedly passes away.
Many wrestlers are connected to one another in the business, whether it's by blood, marriage or even another special bond. When that bond is disrupted by death, it is only fair for a wrestler to grieve over the loss of a family member. Some of these passings have been more high-profile than others, and some wrestlers pay tribute to their long-lost family members. Other performers choose to keep the passing of their close family members more low-key and grieve in private. Regardless, it doesn't take the pain away from what they are going through.
While we as fans often mourn the loss of legendary performers, our grief is nothing in comparison to the family that they left behind. While wrestlers may seem supernatural, they are human just like the rest of us. They experience emotions like grief and loss, especially when they lose a close loved one.
Many of these performers continued to carry on their wrestling careers after losing their family, showcasing their strength through the hardest of times. Here are 15 performers who lost their family members.
15 Ric Flair and Charlotte Lose son/Brother Reid
Until Charlotte Flair made her mark, Ric Flair's children didn't push themselves up wrestling cards like Ric did. Yet one of his children who had potential never got the chance to fully seize his moment.
Reid Flair, the younger brother of Charlotte and David Flair, was found dead in a Charlotte, North Carolina hotel room. His death was ruled to be caused by a heroin overdose. Since then, Charlotte has gone on to say that she wrestles in honor of her brother. However, in 2015, Reid's passing was mentioned in a promo to Charlotte from WWE superstar, Paige. Paige exclaimed that Reid "didn't have much fight left in him." The promo was critically panned and was voted by readers of the Wrestling Observer newsletter as the most disgusting promotional tactic of 2015.
14 Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella Lose Bryan's Father
The "Yes" man recently welcomed a new member into the Danielson family with the birth of his daughter, Birdie Jo. However, upon returning from his honeymoon with his wife, Brie Bella, Bryan discovered that his father (and Brie's father-in-law) had passed away while he was gone.
Despite this, Bryan vowed to be on Raw when he got back and headed right back to the ring. The Yes Man, however, would face a devastating injury shortly after his return that would force him to have neck surgery. The following year, he would suffer a concussion that, in combination with previous concussions that he suffered, would force him into retirement. Luckily, the G.O.A.T still continues to perform for WWE fans as the General Manager of SmackDown Live!
13 Charlie Haas Loses His Brother
Before he began one-half of the World's Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas was a tag team wrestler on the independent circuit with his brother, Russ. The two quickly became stars on the indies before being noticed by the WWE. Shortly after the brothers signed WWE contracts, Russ Haas died at the age of 27 from heart-related problems.
Charlie would not just continue to wrestle, but he would do so while paying tribute to his brother. He wrote "Russ" on his wrist tape. Before he was called up to the WWE's main roster, he also went by the ring name "R.C. Haas," combining his name with his late brother. Charlie would name his first child with his wife, Jackie Gayda, in honor of Russ as well.
12 Davey Boy Smith, Jr Loses His Father As A Teen
Prior to joining the WWE as DH Smith, Davey Boy Smith, Jr had the opportunity to team up with his father, The British Bulldog, on the independent circuit. However, in 2002, when Davey was still a teenager, his father passed away due to health complications associated with years of drug abuse.
Shortly after his father's passing, Smith, Jr. would be offered a WWE contract, which he initially refused to attend college and to tour Japan. He would eventually sign the contract and rise to the top of the ranks in WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. He would then join the ranks of the Hart Foundation, although he would be the first member of the group to be released from his contract.
11 Luna Vachon Loses Her Aunt As A Child
In the mid to late-1990s, Luna Vachon was a key factor in helping build the WWF's top women in two different eras: Alundra Blayze and Sable. As a matter of fact, some may call Luna Vachon the greatest women's wrestler to never win the Women's Championship.
Her aunt, Vivian Vachon, was also considered to be one of the best wrestlers of her time, the 1970s. In the early 1990s, Vivian and her nine-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver who ran a stoplight. During her career, Vivian held the AWA Women's Title and continued wrestling until the mid-1980s. Sadly, Luna would also pass away in 2010 due to a drug overdose.
10 Roman Reigns Loses His Brother
Arguably the most polarizing wrestler the WWE has ever produced, Roman Reigns has ties to the legendary Anoa'i family alongside The Rock, Nia Jax, the Usos and Naomi. Reign's father is Sika of the Wild Samoans and his brother is the recently-departed Rosey.
Rosey may be most well-known for being the sidekick to The Hurricane. Rosey was also a part of Eric Bischoff's 3-Minute Warning alongside the deceased Jamal, who would later go on to compete as Umaga. Rosey struggled with heart-related issues for years and was hospitalized with congestive heart failure in 2014. Three years later, the same condition would lead to his passing. Reigns paid tribute to his brother shortly after his passing, and animosity towards Reigns was forgotten, as everyone can sympathize with losing a sibling.
9 Kharma Loses Her Baby
Kharma's debut in the WWE was highly anticipated, with many fans hoping that it was a sign for changes to come for women's wrestling. Yet those changes ended up being placed on the backburner for years, as Kharma had to leave almost immediately due to an unexpected high-risk pregnancy.
It was initially reported that Kharma gave birth to a baby, but that would prove to not be the case. Kharma wouldn't get to spend any time with her child, as she ended up having a miscarriage. It was initially reported that Kharma gave birth to a healthy boy, but Kharma struggled to come to terms with the loss (and rightfully so). She would return at the 2012 Royal Rumble, which would be her last WWE appearance.
8 Ted DiBiase Loses His Father As A Teen
There are few people (if anyone, really) that played a villain as well as Ted DiBiase. DiBiase has the unique distinction of having both his mother and his step-father as professional wrestlers.
When Ted was 15, his step-father, Iron Mike DiBiase, passed away after having a heart attack during a match. Harley Race went out to perform CPR on Mike, but it didn't work. DiBiase's mother, Helen Hild became depressed after his death. Fifteen years later, Hild would pass away at the age of 58. This wouldn't stop Ted DiBiase from continuing his career in the late 1980s during his prime. DiBiase would continue his career until neck issues forced him to retire, then Ted's son, Ted DiBiase Jr. would have a run in the WWE in the late 2000s.
7 Bill DeMott Loses His Daughter To A Driver Under The Influence
Best known as a former lead coach of WWE's developmental system, Bill DeMott lost his daughter, Keri, to a car accident in 2015. This passing came less than a year after a wide series of allegations regarding DeMott's training practices came out.
While his daughter is no longer with us, DeMott can say that his daughter (and his family) received justice for his daughter's passing. The man who killed his daughter was found guilty for driving drunk and sentenced to 15 years in prison. DeMott has come out as a spokesperson against drunk driving since his daughter's passing. While DeMott may no longer be involved with wrestling, it's great to see that he has discovered a new passion (even if the circumstances are not ideal).
6 Cody Rhodes and Goldust Lose Their Father
The Rhodes Brothers are one of the most unique sets of siblings in professional wrestling. With nearly two decades apart, some people may not even realize that they are siblings, especially since they are associated with two different eras of the sport's history.
Regardless, they both are the sons of wrestling icon Dusty Rhodes. There are few wrestlers that had as much charisma as Dusty. Dusty would take his talents to NXT, where he would help mentor the talents. When Dusty passed, it hit many people inside and outside of the business hard. However, it had the strongest effect on his children. Dusty would appear on Raw months before his death in order to reunite his sons during a family conflict. Of course, all kayfabe went out the window there once Dusty passed.
5 Jimmy Hart Lost His Young Daughter
Not many would know about the terrible loss Jimmy Hart suffered, as he hasn't discussed it in interviews and only discussed it during the WWE Network's season of Legends' House. Hart disclosed to Tony Atlas on one episode that his daughter had passed away about a year before the season took place. He then confided the same story to the rest of the group on the last episode. It was one of the touching moments on the season, as Jimmy Hart was just seen as a little loudmouth to many of his peers, but despite his terrible loss, he lived on with positive energy and did his best to overcome something no parent should have to go through. "Sometimes the smallest guy in the room is the strongest"n as Atlas said to Hart.
4 Vickie Guerrero Becomes A Widow
Months before the passing of her former husband, Eddie, Vickie Guerrero was brought on to WWE television to work a storyline between Eddie and Rey Mysterio. After his unexpected passing, Vickie wasn't seen on WWE television frequently for a few months, but she went on to accept his Hall of Fame induction at the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.
Shortly after that, we would get one of the greatest heels the company has ever seen. Some of the storylines Vickie was involved in included those close with Eddie, including Mysterio, Chris Benoit and Eddie's nephew, Chavo. Vickie would go on to have multiple gimmicks that got her immense heat, such as her time as Dolph Ziggler's Cougar girlfriend and as the General Manager of SmackDown. Vickie carried on the Guerrero legacy in a way no one expected, but she definitely earned a future spot in the WWE's Hall of Fame alongside her former husband.
3 The Von Erich Family Curse
Out of the six children of Fritz Von Erich, only one is still alive: Kevin Von Erich. His brothers, Jack, David, Kerry, Mike and Chris have all passed away. Kerry, Mike and Chris all committed suicide, with Kerry leaving behind his daughter, Lacey Von Erich.
Lacey would go on to have a career as a wrestler, most notably wrestling in TNA as a part of the Beautiful People. Kevin's children, Marshall and Ross also began pursuing professional wrestling careers in 2012. However, the Von Erich chain of tragedies, otherwise known as the Von Erich Curse, remains one of the largest superstitions in professional wrestling lore. There is definitely no story in the history of the sport that is saddest than the collective nature of the Von Erich family.
2 The Hart Family
The Hart Family, like the Von Erichs, is one of the most well-known and respected families in the history of the sport. However, The Hart Family truly felt a dagger in their hearts when Owen Hart passed away at Over The Edge 1999.
Owen, performing as The Blue Blazer, was set to do a superhero-esque entrance. However, he ended up falling more than 70 feet down into the ring. The trauma from the fall resulted in his passing. His brother, Bret, was wrestling for WCW at the time. His niece would later wrestle in the WWE as Natalya, who continues to pay tribute to Owen from time to time on social media. He also lost his brother Dean, back in 1990 due to kidney failure, when his older sibling was just 36.
1 David Benoit's Father's Actions Affecting His Career?
While the focus of the Chris Benoit tragedy revolved around the killing of Benoit's wife Nancy and son Daniel, before Chris took his own life, Benoit had kids from a previous marriage that also felt the effects of the tragedy.
There are very few acts in wrestling that are considered unforgivable, and this is indisputably one of them. Benoit's son David is his first son from a previous marriage and despite the tainted Benoit name due to the tragedy, David has tried his hand in the wrestling business and has even been seen attending some WWE events recently, as his father had made many friends in the business before his actions. Not only did David lose his father, but his father's final acts have left a huge question mark as to whether David can pursue a pro wrestling career in the WWE.