Steve Williams Death – Throat Cancer

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“Dr Death” Steve Williams – dead at 49. photo:

1960-2009 (age 49)

While he was best known for his achievements in the ring as a wrestler, Steve Williams was a talented athlete who excelled on the football field playing for the University of Oklahoma.

From 1982 to 2009, he was known as “Dr. Death’ and by his given name, as he battled for and won multiple titles, including the UWF World Heavyweight Championship, the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (Japan) and a run as a tag team champion alongside Terry Gordy in WCW.

Not only was Williams a fierce competitor, but he was also an inspiration to people everywhere, as the details of the Steve Williams death story show.

“Dr. Death” and Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy win the NWA Tag Team Titles in 1992

A Prelude to the Steve Williams Death Story

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Early in their careers: Steve Williams and Ted Dibiase. photo:

In 2003, Steve Williams was enjoying a storied career in wrestling. He earned a name for himself in the Japanese wrestling scene, World Championship Wrestling and a brief run in the WWF being managed by fellow Oklahoman, Jim Ross.

In the WWF he most notably competed in the Brawl for All – who could forget the Brawl for All?! Oh right, he was knocked out early and it pretty much ended his tough guy gimmick in it’s tracks.

Suddenly, though, Williams’ focus had to shift to a whole different fight – one against throat cancer. Steve was diagnosed with the condition in 2003 and only given 6 months to live. Amazingly, surgery on the cancer proved successful in 2004, and he was able to rebound from the disease.

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“Dr. Death” Steve Williams with partner, Terry Gordy. In WCW They would go on take the tag team belts from the Steiner Brothers. photo:

Retiring from Wresting

Following his recovery from throat cancer, Steve Williams didn’t hesitate to return to the world of wrestling. He used his struggles as a way to inspire other people, speaking openly about his religious faith. In interviews, he said that God had been his tag team partner, and that he was adopting a new name, “Dr. Life” instead of “Dr. Death.”

While he wasn’t able to wrestle full time, Steve did make appearances at WWE events and on the independent circuit. After the death of a close friend from the world of Japanese wrestling, Steve Williams finally retired, partaking in his final match on August 15, 2009.

Details of the Steve Williams Death Story

In late 2009 while he was putting the final chapter on the story of his career, Steve Williams learned that his throat cancer had returned. Still, he remained in the public eye and appeared at a wrestling convention on December 12, 2009. After that, his health deteriorated very quickly, and Steve had to be admitted to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Williams passed away on December 29, 2009, at the age of 49.

Remembering Steve Williams

After news about Steve Williams death broke, many personalities from the wrestling community were eager to tell stories about their friend. Wrestler and promoter Bill Watts talked about how much courage and strength his long-time friend had. Many others from the wrestling community posted tributes to him online.

In 2011, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter added Steve Williams to it’s Newsletter Hall of Fame. Today, his autobiography “How Dr. Death Became Dr. Life” is still available for purchase, and there are many tributes to the wrestler from fans on social media, forums and wrestling blogs.

Steve Williams was cremated. What was done with his ashes is not public knowledge, although it’s been documented that Williams wished to have his ashes scattered in the Rocky Mountains.

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