Professional Wrestler Bray Wyatt Has Died at 36 — What Happened to Him?

On Aug. 24, 2023, professional wrestler Bray Wyatt died at just 36 years old, leading many to wonder what the former wrestler's cause of death was.


Aug. 25 2023, Published 9:43 a.m. ET

Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt in the ring in 2015.
Source: Getty Images

The gist:

  • WWE star Bray Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda, died in August 2023 at the age of 36.
  • Reports say that Bray died of a heart attack. He apparently had existing heart issues that were exacerbated by a COVID-19 infection in early 2023.
  • The WWE itself and many wrestling stars took to social media to share their condolences to Bray's family.
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Following the news that wrestler Bray Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda, had died at just 36 years old, fans have begun to mourn the loss of the former WWE competitor. Even as fans mourn Bray's death, some are also wondering exactly what happened to Bray that led to his death at such an early age.

Shortly after his death, his cause of death was confirmed, and led to even more sympathy for those who knew Bray and loved him. Here's what we know about his cause of death.

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Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman at the New York Stock Exchange in 2016.
Source: Getty Images

What was Bray Wyatt's cause of death?

Bray died of a heart attack on Aug. 24, 2023. According to Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Bray got COVID-19 earlier this year, and the illness exacerbated existing heart issues that he was dealing with. Bray had made progress with regard to his health and hoped to be able to return to the ring.

"I encourage those reading to respect the family's privacy if at all possible, but his loved ones wanted some details clarified," Sean added at the end of his announcement.

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The WWE also released a statement acknowledging Bray's death, although they didn't offer any additional information on his cause of death.

“WWE is saddened to learn that Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 24, at age 36,” the organization said in a statement. “WWE extends its condolences to Rotunda’s family, friends, and fans.”

Why did Bray Wyatt leave the WWE?

Bray was best known for portraying a character known as "The Fiend" in the ring after initially appearing as Wyatt, a friendly character who was nice to children. The character eventually became one of WWE's best merchandise sellers.

Bray was initially released from WWE in July 2021. The company began cutting back on its largest contracts in anticipation of a sale, but he returned in October 2022 as just Bray Wyatt.

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Bray announced in February 2023 that he would be taking time away from the ring due to a then undisclosed illness.

Bray started his professional wrestling career in 2008, and was the son of former pro wrestler Mike Rotunda, who is a WWE hall of famer. Although it took several years for Bray to launch his career, by 2013, he was signed to WWE and on his way to becoming one of the most well-known heels in the sport.

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Major wrestling celebrities posted about Bray Wyatt's death.

Following the news that Bray had died, several major voices who are either still in wrestling or came up through the sport posted about his death.

Dwayne Johnson was among those who posted, writing: “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 the WWE universe. Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy world of pro wrestling."

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