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WWE legend Virgil dies at 61 after a series of strokes

By Stew Davidson
|
February 29, 2024

The world of professional wrestling is mourning the loss of WWE legend Virgil at the age of 61.

Known outside the ring as Michael Jones, the entertainment industry standout's passing comes after reports of his battle with multiple health issues, including dementia and strokes, as reported by the Daily Mail.

A look back at Virgil's wrestling legacy

Virgil's career in the wrestling world spanned several decades, with his most notable period being in the 1980s and 1990s within the ranks of World Wrestling Entertainment. He initially made a mark as the villainous bodyguard for The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase.

His storyline took a dramatic turn in 1991 when he betrayed DiBiase, which turned him into a fan favorite. This change led to memorable victories at major events like Wrestlemania and Summerslam, with wrestling icon Rowdy Roddy Piper by his side.

Despite these highs, Virgil struggled to maintain his momentum, eventually transitioning to a lesser role within WWE. He later joined World Championship Wrestling in the 1990s, continuing his career under the ring name Vincent.

Challenges and controversies off the ring

Virgil's journey was not without its challenges, especially after he left the mainstream wrestling scene. He was involved in a controversial independent wrestling endeavor and had to navigate the complexities of the industry's politics and personal relationships.

DiBiase, in a 2016 interview, shed light on their professional relationship, describing it as cordial but not close. DiBiase also highlighted a fallout due to Virgil using his name for personal appearances without his consent, which strained their relationship further.

Virgil's later years saw him facing significant health and financial difficulties, leading him to seek help through crowdfunding efforts. His health issues, including dementia and physical impairments, had a profound impact on his quality of life.

Remembering Virgil's contributions to wrestling

Before entering the world of wrestling, Virgil was an accomplished athlete, having been a standout defensive back in football during his college days. His entry into wrestling was facilitated by meeting fellow wrestler Tony Atlas, which led to his training and eventual debut.

In WWE, Virgil was part of memorable segments that showcased the extravagance of The Million Dollar Man character, contributing to some of the most iconic moments in wrestling entertainment history.

Even after his departure from WWE, Virgil remained connected to the wrestling world, appearing in independent shows and wrestling conventions. His occasional returns to WWE television and viral moments on social media kept him in the public eye.

Virgil's final days and legacy

Virgil's health issues were publicly known, with his battle against dementia and the aftermath of strokes having been shared with his fans through social media and crowdfunding platforms.

These updates painted a picture of a man facing his challenges head-on, with the support of the wrestling community.

His passing was confirmed by a company spokesman and further detailed by referee Mark Charles III, who revealed that the wrestling legend died while in a hospital.

This announcement brought an outpouring of tributes from fans and peers alike, honoring his memory and contributions to the sport.

Virgil's death marks the end of an era for those who grew up watching him perform.

His story is a reminder of the physical and personal battles that professional athletes often face, both in the spotlight and in their private lives.

Conclusion

  • Wrestling community mourns the loss of WWE legend Virgil at age 61.
  • Virgil remembered for his dramatic career shifts and memorable moments in wrestling.
  • Struggles outside the ring highlighted the challenges faced by retired professional athletes.
  • Virgil's legacy in wrestling is marked by memorable performances and his fight against personal and health challenges.