Billy Joe Travis Death – Heart Attack

billy joe travis death

Billy Joe Travis, dead at 41.

1961-2002 (Age 41)

Billy Joe Travis was a talented athlete whose early years in professional wrestling suggested considerable potential. Sadly, his inability to overcome personal demons killed any chance of breakout success and may have even led to his early death.

A Promising Future

On April 29, 1961, Gary Mize was born in Kentucky, enjoying wrestling as a youngster.

Mize set his mind to becoming a wrestler and utilized his skills in track (including his record-breaking skills in high school as a high-jumper) to create exciting in-ring performances. Although Travis was only 5’10”, his good looks, charisma, ability to sell, and fast-paced style suggested a promising future.

Mayhem in Memphis

After a run in the WWF as an enhancement talent, Travis came to work in Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler’s Memphis Wrestling. Travis formed a popular babyface team with a young Jeff Jarrett in Memphis Wrestling battling heel teams such as the Rock-n-Roll RPMs, the Kelly Twins, and future AWA World Tag Team Champions Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka.

While Travis lacked the size for main event success in companies such as the WWF or WCW, he had a promising future until drug abuse ruined his professional reputation.

Billy Joe Travis’ 15 Minutes of Shame

As his drug use continued, Travis worked in several smaller promotions, eventually returning to the Memphis area during its dying days.

There, he was involved in one of the most bizarre incidents in wrestling when the police arrested him in 1997 while he was being interviewed for a match. Travis, who owed back child support, was spotted on TV, and the police were called in, leading to his on-air arrest.

Billy Joe Travis Dies Young

While Travis continued wrestling, he never found break-out success.

Billy Joe Travis died on November 22, 2002 after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 41.

billy joe travis grave

The grave of Billy Joe Travis at the Rest Haven Cemetery in Corbin, Kentucky.

Travis joins a long list of pro wrestlers who died before age 50.

Other pro wrestlers who died in 2002 include Big Dick Dudley, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, Lou Thesz, Randy Anderson, Rocco Rock, Swede Hanson, and Wahoo McDaniel.

What are your favorite memories of Billy Joe Travis? Let us know in the comments below.