WWE fans mourn as three stars die on same day
Wrestling fans are mourning three of the sport’s former stars who all died on the same day.
Brian Lawler, Brickhouse Brown and Nikolai Volkoff died on Sunday at the ages of 46, 57 and 70 respectively after successful careers across multiple eras of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Lawler – known within WWE as Grandmaster Sexay – died after a suicide attempt at Hardeman County prison.
He was found in his cell on Saturday and taken to a hospital in Memphis, where he died on Sunday.
Officials said Lawler – the son of WWE Hall of Fame icon Jerry “The King” Lawler – was being held on charges of driving under influence and on a revoked licence, as well as evading arrest.
The WWE said it was “saddened” to hear of his death. The star joined in 1997 and last appeared in 2014.
Brickhouse Brown – real name Frederick Seawright – was at his peak during the 1980s and was part of a number of franchises before joining what was then known as the WWF.
He was being cared for at a hospice in Mississippi when he died, having suffered from prostate cancer.
The diagnosis was made at an early state, but he had no medical insurance and was only being treated with painkillers, according to US media reports.
His funeral will be held in his childhood state of Florida on August 11, which would have been his 58th birthday.
Nikolai Volkoff – real name Josip Nikolai Peruzovic – antagonised American audiences at the height of the Cold War in the 1980s by wearing Soviet-inspired outfits and loudly singing along to the Russian national anthem.
He was actually born in what was then Yugoslavia, in the region that is now Croatia.
In a tribute, the WWE described him as “one of the greatest villains sports entertainment had ever seen”.
“Volkoff’s infamous rendition of the Soviet National Anthem before his matches made him an instant icon in the eyes of the WWE universe as a superstar they truly loved to hate,” it said.
“Although Volkoff’s actions can be imitated, they will never be duplicated.”
Volkoff – who recently had a spell in hospital – was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
He died at his home in Maryland.