Wrestler Jos LeDuc posing

Jos LeDuc Death – Accident

1944-1999 (Age 54)

Back when image was everything, Jos LeDuc knew how to get the fans’ attention with shocking segments, presenting himself as a certifiable lunatic.

Dreaming of becoming a professional wrestler, French-Canadian judoka Michel Pigeon would transform himself into Jos LeDuc, a fearsome Canadian lumberjack turned professional wrestling (one of wrestling’s many fascinating kayfabe backgrounds for wrestlers).

LeDuc competed from the 1960s into the mid-90s, traveling around the world and participating in astonishing angles to get himself over as a wildman.

Michel Pigeon was born on August 31, 1944, in Montreal, Quebec. He studied judo before becoming a police officer.

His dream of becoming a pro wrestler became real when wrestler Paul LeDuc approached him about becoming his storyline brother.

Becoming Jos LeDuc

Michel trained in Portland, Oregon in Don Owens’ Portland territory. Once he was ready, Michel became Jos LeDuc, joining his “brother” Paul.

The LeDuc Brothers became icons in Montreal, battling famous teams such as the Vachon Brothers and the team of Jacques and Raymond Rougeau.

Jos Le Duc also enjoyed singles success, battling in a variety of territories around the globe including Championship Wrestling from Florida, the Continental Wrestling Association (aka Memphis), and Jim Crockett Promotions’ Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

He also traveled internationally including tours of Japan and New Zealand.

Arguably his hottest programs involved Memphis legend Jerry “The King” Lawler, with LeDuc vowing to rid the wrestling world of “The King.” It was in Memphis where LeDuc performed one of his wildest promotional stunts—cutting open his arm with an ax blade on TV and vowing he’d carry the scar as a reminder of his oath to take Lawler out.

As insane as this was, LeDuc engaged in other sensational stunts. One such stunt involved a wrestler breaking a brick over Jos’ head with a sledgehammer. In another stunt, LeDuc towed a bus.

LeDuc was more than just a sideshow attraction.

The talented performer knew how to cut a terrifying promo and ironically, he could also work as a babyface.

Jos LeDuc wrestled briefly in the WWF in 1988 and later, in Japan’s Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling.

In 1995, LeDuc competed for one last time. He teamed with Phil Hickerson to take on Jerry Lawler and Jimmy Valiant. The match was held at the Memphis Memories II event.

Health Problems Slow LeDuc Down

According to his obituary in the May 10, 1999, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, LeDuc’s health declined sharply in later years due to “a severe case of diabetes.”

In 1998, he collapsed on a sidewalk, breaking two ribs, and suffering a punctured lung.

Jos LeDuc’s Death

On May 1, 1999, Jos LeDuc passed away at a hospital in Atlanta, with SLAM! Wrestling reporting he’d died from a lung infection. LeDuc had slipped in the shower and the accident led to him being hospitalized. While hospitalized, he died from the lung infection. He was 54.

According to the website Find a Grave, LeDuc was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the air.

In a twist that could only happen in the world of kayfabe, Quebec talk shows covered the “scandal” that Jos and Paul LeDuc were not actually brothers.

Other pro wrestlers who died in 1999 include Giant Baba, Gorilla Monsoon, Owen Hart, Rick Rude, and The Renegade.

What are your favorite memories of Jos LeDuc? Let us know in the comments below.