Mike Von Erich Death – Suicide

mike von erich death

WCCW 1986: 1 year prior to Mike Von Erich taking his own life. photo: wwe.com

1964-1987 (age 23)

If you were a wrestling fan during the territory days, you were undoubtedly familiar with the infamous Von Erich family.

Lead by Fritz Von Erich, who would develop the Texas territory with his promotion, WCCW, The Von Erich name quickly became synonymous with professional wrestling throughout the early 80s.

Sadly, the Von Erich name is now more often associated with “wrestling’s cursed family”.

mike von erich ric flair

Mike Von Erich works Ric Flair. photo: espn.com

Mike Von Erich, one of five wrestling brothers in the Von Erich family, started his career in 1983.

Although his surname helped get him over, Mike’s career didn’t see the same breakout success as brothers Kerry, David, or Kevin.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as it’s been said that Mike never showed too much enthusiasm toward becoming a professional wrestler to begin with.

Perhaps the pressures of being born into a wrestling family got the best of Mike – despite lacking the physique of his brothers, he reluctantly began his wrestling career in 1983 with WCCW.

Mike Von Erich wrestles Ric Flair, 1/30/84, Fort Worth, TX.

An Injury that Changed Everything

In August of 1985, Mike Von Erich sustained a shoulder injury while wrestling in Israel.

Days following the injury, complications were evident, with Mike suffering from toxic shock syndrome. This would be the start of a year and a half downward spiral.

mike von erich lance von erich

One year prior to his death: Mike with kayfabe cousin Lance Von Erich. photo: wwe.com

Although Mike returned to the ring following the injury in Israel, friends said that he was never the same.

Close friends also spoke of Mike’s constant battle in “needing to be David” – his older brother, who he closely resembled, who passed away in Japan three years prior. David was considered the breakout wrestling star of the Von Erich family, hugely over with the crowds. In retrospect, it’s easy to see how Mike would feel pressure to live up to the super stardom that his older brother had achieved prior to his abrupt 1984 death.

Mike Von Erich Death

On April 12th, 1987, Mike Von Erich intentionally overdosed on Placidyl – a medication used to treat insomnia. A suicide note was found, but not with his body. In fact, Mike’s family found his suicide note four days before they found his body.

mike von erich dead

photo: espn.com

Mike’s body was discovered on April 16th, 1987 in Lake Dallas, Texas.

Sadly, a 1987 memorial show for Mike Von Erich at Texas Stadium only drew 4,900 fans in attendance – a small fraction of the 43,000 who turned out for David’s memorial event just three years prior. But these numbers don’t necessarily speak to Mike’s lack of popularity in comparison to David’s – the writing was already on the wall in recent years, with the downfall of WCCW looming imminent.

WCCW was ultimately sold in 1988.

One must wonder if living in the shadows of his brothers was the key contributing factor that lead Mike to take his life. Being the son of wrestling legend Fritz Von Erich, and having your siblings see success in a business that you had little interest in – it’s difficult not to make the connection on why Mike may have found it easy to turn to a life of self destruction – especially after suffering such heavy injuries.

mike von erich grave

Mike Von Erich’s grave at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas, TX. photo: Susan Parker

Mike Von Erich Grave

Mike Von Erich’s grave is located at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas, TX. The plot is located at the Hilltop Section, Lot 535.

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