Kerry Von Erich “The Texas Tornado” Death – Suicide
1960-1993 (age 33)
Kerry Von Erich made his debut as a professional wrestler in 1979. First known as The Modern Day Warrior with World Class Championship Wrestling, Kerry won the American Heavyweight Championship five times.
By the early 90s, Kerry won the WWF Intercontinental Championship title as The Texas Tornado and was thought to have a bright career ahead of him. Instead, he cut his life short at the young age of 33.
A Family Plagued by Tragedy
It’s always a shock when a wrestling star is killed in his prime, but Kerry Von Erich’s death was particularly tragic given that he was preceded in death by four of his five brothers.
One brother was killed when he was just 7 years old in a tragic electrocution accident. The other three deaths, David, Mike, and Chris, also wrestlers, died from a variety of causes. His brother David’s cause of death has never been confirmed, though it’s rumored it was a drug overdose. Mike intentionally overdosed on drugs, while Chris shot himself.
In his autobiography, wrestler Bret Hart explains that the death of Kerry Von Erich did not come as a big surprise to him because Kerry had told him once that he wanted to die like his brothers.
Surviving brother, Kevin Von Erich, told ESPN that Kerry had called him telling him he wanted to commit suicide. Kevin raced to his brothers aid, but it was too late when he arrived.
Less than 3 years before his death: Texas Tornado wins the Intercontinental gold, defeating Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam 1990
A Tragic Accident Leads to Addiction
In 1986 while working for his family’s World Class Championship Wrestling, Kerry suffered a motorcycle accident.
The damage to Kerry’s foot was so bad that it ultimately required amputation. Although the wrestler wore a prosthetic foot after that, he managed to keep the injury a secret, not just from fans, but also from the wrestling community.
The injury caused Kerry tremendous pain, so much that he had to take painkillers just to remain active and get through his daily life. Eventually, he would become addicted to the drugs, putting into motion the chain of the events that would result of his death.
The Events Leading to Kerry Von Erich’s Death
Von Erich’s troubles with addiction would continue throughout the rest of his life. In September 1992, he was convicted for drug possession. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation. Then, in February 1993, he was indicted on cocaine charges. A warrant was issued for his arrest with prosecutors planning to send him to prison. Kerry’s marriage had also fallen apart shortly prior.
The loss of his family and the threat of prison apparently proved too much for Kerry. On February 18, 1993, he went for a walk on the grounds of his father’s ranch and shot himself in the chest with a handgun, just as his brother Chris had done before him.
10 years prior to his death, Kerry Von Erich is at the top of his game. Here he is defeating “Nature Boy” Ric Flair in front 45,000 fans to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (Texas Stadium, May 6, 1984)
Paying Tribute to the Texas Tornado
After the 16th anniversary of his passing, Kerry Von Erich was finally inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, alongside his brothers. Word of the decision came on March 16, 2009, and the official induction took place on April 4, 2009, in Houston, Texas. At the event, Michael Hayes, who had been one of the Von Erich’s biggest rivals with the Fabulous Freebirds, oversaw the proceedings. Hall of Fame rings were given to Kerry’s daughters, Lacey and Hollie.
Kerry Von Erich Grave
Kerry Von Erich’s grave is located at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas, TX. The plot is located at the Hilltop section, near lot 53. He is buried in the same plot as his father, Fritz Von Erich.
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