terry gordy death

Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy – Dead at 40. photo: wwe.com

Terry Gordy Death – Heart Attack

1961-2001 (age 40)

Many professional wrestlers don’t make it to age 50. Sadly, Terry Gordy barely made it out of his 30s. This is the Terry Gordy death story.

Best known as a member of the infamous Fabulous Freebirds, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy had a huge following in the 80s. With the rest of the Freebirds, Gordy won the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship on five separate occasions. In the early 90s, Terry held one half of the WCW tag team championship alongside “Dr. Death” Steve Williams.

WCCW in the 80s: Terry and the Freebirds in a classic rivalry against the Von Erich’s

Beginning in 1996, Gordy had a brief run with the WWF. The less-than-memorable gimmick tagged Terry Gordy as “The Executioner”. He landed a couple of PPV matches, including a feud with the Undertaker, but ultimately left the company. The gimmick wasn’t a great script and as the WWF moved into the Attitude-era, it was mostly forgotten.

Sadly, within a few short years of his departure from the WWF, Terry Gordy would be dead from a heart attack.

terry gordy the executioner

5 years before his death: Terry Gordy (as The Executioner) takes on ‘Taker at In Your House “It’s Time” (1996). photo: wwe.com

The Start of a Downward Spiral

Although fans were unaware, the events of the Terry Gordy death story were well underway during his time with the Fabulous Freebirds. During the height of the tag team group’s popularity, Terry was heavily into drugs. Friends have revealed since his death that Terry drank heavily, did cocaine, popped prescription pain medication and took steroids. Combining all of those substances took a toll on his body.

In 1993, Terry overdosed and suffered brain damage. While he was able to return to the ring, he became more and more unpredictable. Missing training and failing to make appearances made it difficult for him to succeed in the WCW, ECW and the WWF.

Gordy’s last appearance in the ring was in 1999.

10 years before his death: Terry Gordy and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams celebrate their WCW tag team title win

The Events of the Terry Gordy Death Story

The specifics about Terry Gordy’s death have never been fully revealed; however, it is known that the wrestler passed away on July 16, 2001. Bam Bam was just 40 years old at the time of his death.

An autopsy was performed to determine the exact cause of his death, and it was ruled that he died of a heart attack that was triggered by the formation of a blood clot that traveled to his heart. Many people speculate that the years of drug abuse and his weight contributed to his untimely death.


Terry Gordy wraps up Brian Adias. WCCW, 1983. photo: wwe.com

Friends Mourn and Reflect After the Terry Gordy Death News

Although Terry Gordy was not active in professional wrestling at the time of his death, the wrestling world was rocked by the news that he had died. Wrestling promoter Bill Watts who had worked with the Freebirds for years wrote a very revealing biography of Terry Gordy not long after his death. In it, Watts described how he felt guilty for not doing more to get Gordy help when it became clear that substance abuse had taken over his life. He admitted that he and Gordy’s friends had enabled his behavior, and he clearly felt some responsibility for the wrestler’s untimely demise.

Terry Gordy and Bruiser Brody feud throughout the 80s

After the Terry Gordy Death Story: Paying Tribute to Bam Bam

The Freebirds were never forgotten by fans, and in 2015, Terry Gordy received recognition for his contributions to the Tag Team. Along with Buddy “Jack” Roberts and Michael “P.S.” Hayes, he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Texas. His son, Ray, also carried on the family name briefly in the WWE wrestling as Slam Master J in the late 2000s.

2016 WWE Hall of Fame Induction

On Feburary 29, 2016, Terry Gordy and the Freebirds were announced as inductees to the WWE’s class of 2016 Hall of Fame. The accolade is considered long overdue as the Freebirds contributions to the wrestling industry in the 80s are impossible to ignore. Gordy (along with Buddy Roberts) will of course be inducted posthumously, set to be inducted by current WWE trio, The New Day.

Terry Gordy Grave

Terry Gordy’s grave is located at the Tennessee Georgia Memorial Park in Rossville, GA.

terry gordy grave

Terry Gordy’s grave, located in Rossville, GA. photo: James Barbee

A memorial bench in Gordy’s honor, dedicated by his mother, sits next to it.

terry gordy gravesite

Terry Gordy memorial bench sitting next to his grave. photo: Jame Barbee

Have a comment about Terry Gordy? Favorite memory of the Freebirds? Sound off in the comments below!