Today marks the 12th anniversary of the passing of former WWE Champion and Hall of Famer, Latino Heat Eddie Guerrero.
Twelve years ago today, Eddie Guerrero passed away and was taken from us way, way too soon. In 2005 at the age of just 38, Eddie's nephew Chavo discovered Guerrero dead in his hotel room. It would later be revealed that Eddie's passing was a result of underlying heart issues (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) and that he had died of heart failure. Despite his premature passing though, Latino Heat left behind one hell of a legacy.
Before arriving in WWE early on in the year 200o, Guerrero wrestled in Mexico, Japan, and even ECW. Ask almost anyone that competed with or even merely watched Guerrero during his career and they will tell you that the WWE Hall of Famer was one of the greatest of all time. However, Guerrero's potential was not realized and fully taken advantage of when he competed for WCW.
In fact, it even took WWE a little while to realize exactly what they had on their hands with Guerrero. He began his time with the company as a part of The Radicalz alongside one of his real-life best friends. Those first couple of years also included his on-screen partnership with Chyna, a period in his career that Guerrero is remembered for by fans very fondly.
For a brief period at the end of 2001 and into 2002, Guerrero was actually released from WWE. Upon his return, he began teaming with his nephew, Chavo Guerrero. It was at this time that Latino Heat really started to gain some traction and fans ironically began to fall in love with his Lie, Cheat, and Steal moniker. Guerrero would do everything he could to win matches and some of the amusing ways in which he would do so helped him win the hearts of the fans.
At No Way Out 2004, all that momentum and a career's worth of hard work would all culminate in the ultimate pay off. Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar to become WWE Champion. A month later at WrestleMania XX, still as champion, Guerrero would come to the ring and celebrate with Chris Benoit after he won the World Heavyweight Championship. It was an extremely touching moment and an incredible achievement for both men.
Sadly, that championship win would be the only time Eddie held a World Title in WWE. Later in 2004, he would lose the title to JBL, and a year and a half after that he passed away.Guerrero's legacy very much still lives on, however. His good friend Rey Mysterio won his first World Championship after Guerrero's death and dedicated it to Latino Heat. Sasha Banks, a huge fan of Eddie's, often pays homage to her hero on WWE television to this day. Eddie Guerrero may have been taken away from us too soon and 12 years may have passed since he died, but he will never, ever be forgotten.