Curse of WWE as Mantaur dies suddenly… from iconic star’s meth addiction to legend killed in horror accident in the ring | The Sun

WHILE their antics in the ring are fake, some of the biggest names in WWE have endured some very real tragedies.

This week we revealed Mike 'Mantaur' Halac has died aged just 55, with his heartbroken daughter Demi breaking the news on social media.

Posting on her dad's account, she told his fans he had died peacefully in his sleep on July 11, and was "no longer in pain".

Earlier that day Halac had posted that he'd fallen and injured his back.

"This really hit home to lose my father, he will forever be in my heart and many others," Demi wrote.

Halac joined the WWE in 1994, leaving a year later for a brief stint with EWC before returning to Vince McMahon's company in 1996 as Goldust's bodyguard.


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In 2015 he revealed he had type 2 diabetes, and the following year he was among the 50-strong group of professional wrestlers who filed a lawsuit against the WWE for covering up incidents of neurological injuries – though it was ultimately unsuccessful.

WWE said Halac's combination of size and charisma "immediately captivated fans worldwide as he took to the ring in a giant bull head to highlight his half-man, half-minotaur persona".

Halac is the latest WWE star whose life was cut short long before their time.

Here we look at the shocking demises of some of the sport's biggest names.

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Double murder and suicide

Chris Benoit killed his wife and child before killing himself in June 2007Credit: AP:Associated Press

Chris Benoit was widely-regarded as the best technical wrestler in the business during the early 2000s and held the world title twice.

But his reign came to an end in truly shocking circumstances in June 2007.

Over a three day period, Benoit strangled his wife Nancy and smothered his seven-year-old son Daniel with a pillow, before taking his own life in the family home.

Benoit, aged 40, was found to have 10 times the normal levels of testosterone in his body when he died, as well as the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and painkiller hydrocodone.

For this reason experts blamed the tragic deaths on steroid use, leading to potential “roid rage”. Alcohol was also found in both his and his wife's bodies.

Benoit's brain also showed signs of severe damage, believed to have been caused by multiple concussions and unprotected chair shots during his 22 years in the ring.

Those close to Benoit claimed he was a loving family man before something changed – in 2020 his son David Benoit revealed his plans to wrestle using his "hero" dad’s name.

Fatal car crash

Randy Savage, aka Macho Man, was famous for his unmistakable raspy voice, sequined robes and “Oooh Yeah!” catchphrase.

For much of his career he was accompanied by his valet Miss Elizabeth – aka Elizabeth Hulette, his real life wife who he married in 1984.

They divorced in 1992, and she died in 2003, aged 42, of a prescription drug overdose.

In 2011, Randy tragically died in a car accident, aged 58, when he suffered a heart attack behind the wheel of his Jeep Wrangler, causing him to lose control and crash into a tree.

After his death, an autopsy found he had an enlarged heart and heart disease.

Meth addiction

Chyna – billed the “ninth wonder of the world” in 1997 – was one of the biggest stars of the WWE’s Attitude era in the 1990s, often appearing alongside then-boyfriend Triple H aka Paul Michael Levesque.

When they split, she left her $1million-a-year contract by “mutual consent” in 2001, and turned to porn acting instead, becoming a Playboy covergirl.

Later in life Chyna – whose real name was Joan Laurer – became addicted to crystal meth.

Her sister Kathy Hamilton tried to get her to go to rehab, but they became estranged when Chyna allegedly sent threatening messages.

In April 2016, Chyna was found dead at her home in California, aged 46.

A report later revealed she had a cocktail of sleeping aids and painkillers in her system when she died – including Valium, temazepam, oxycodone and oxymorphone.

Chyna was laid to rest at sea in a rhinestone urn, with her ashes scattered on a 70ft yacht – caught on film for a documentary on her life.

Hit by truck

Valiant was inducted into the wrestling Hall Of Fame in 1996, having won the World Tag Team Championship twice.

But his life came to a shocking end in April 2018 "Luscious" Johnny Valiant, whose real name is Tommy Sullivan, was hit and killed by a truck, aged 71.

Valiant was crossing a busy street in Pennsylvania, USA, when he was mowed down by the pick-up truck.

Drowned in riptide

Shad Gaspard burst onto the WWE scene in 2006 when he formed the famous Cryme Tyme duo with JTG.

Tragically he died a hero in 2020, aged just 39, when he drowned while swimming with his son near Venice Beach in California.

The pair got caught in a strong rip current with waves nearly eight-feet tall, and Gaspard sacrificed himself by catapulting his 10-year-old son from the water toward a lifeguard before being washed out to sea.

He was presented with the Warrior Award by WWE after his death, which goes to individuals who have exhibited "unwavering strength".

Fatal stunt

Canadian wrestler Owen Hart aka 'Blue Blazer' was known for his acrobatic stunts and was the 1994 WWF King of the Ring.

Five years later in 1999, Hart died aged 34 when a stunt went badly wrong at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.

A malfunction with his quick release harness while he was being lowered into the ring at the Over the Edge pay-per-view event caused him to plunge 78ft in front of the 16,000-strong crowd.

He was given CPR in the ring but later pronounced dead at hospital. Meanwhile the rest of the show proceeded as scheduled.

His widow Martha has said she won't ever allow WWE to include him in the Hall of Fame as she still blames the wrestling company for his death.

She sued WWE twice; her first wrongful death lawsuit, three weeks after he died, resulted in an out of court settlement of around $18m in November 2000.

She then filed another lawsuit in June 2010 against Vince McMahon's company for using Owen’s name and likeness in numerous DVDs.

That was also settled out of court in April 2013 for an undisclosed sum.

Shocking death

Sara Lee was the female winner of the sixth season of the WWE reality show Tough Enough.

Participants had to partake in professional wrestling training and compete for a contract with WWE, which went to the winner of the show.

After she show won and received the contract from WWE chief Triple H, she joined WWE’s developmental brand NXT and she worked a number of live events.

However, she was released by the company just months later.

Sara married fellow former WWE star Westin Blake, real name Cory Weston, in December 2017 and had two children with him.

But in October 2022, Sara tragically took her own life, aged 30.

Mental health battles

Stunning wrestler and Playboy model Ashley Massaro competed in WWE from 2005 until 2008 and was a firm fan favourite.

In May 2019, Ashley Massaro took her own life, aged 39, leaving behind a daughter.

She had been open about her depression and mental health battles in the past, and claimed she suffered health issues from her years in the ring.

Ashley said in November 2017: ""Aside from my ongoing physical injuries that were sustained in the ring and my former battle with addiction, to this day, I suffer from depression, for which I take medication, migraine headaches, and severe short-term memory loss."

Her pal Shelly Martinez told The Blast: "My best friend from the wrestling business died from suicide two days after responding to 300+ fan letters.

“She was the happiest I have seen her in years, so stoked that people still cared about her 11 years after her career was over. There are no signs. It comes without warning.”

Accidental overdose

Lance Cade was best known in the ring for his partnership with Trevor Murdoch. Together the duo won the World Tag Team Championships multiple times.

In 2008 Cade began partnering with Chris Jericho – but he was suddenly released by WWE after losing to HBK on an episode of Raw.

In 2010 Cade's health began to decline, and it emerged he suffered with prescription drug abuse.

He died at just 29 years old, in August 2010, from an accidental overdose.

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His ex-wife Tanya had noticed he was not looking well in the week prior to his death. Two months prior he was taken to a hospital with difficulty breathing, but discharged himself the next day.

A Lance Cade Tribute Show took place on March 5, 2011, at the Texas Wrestling Academy Gym in San Antonio.

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