Paul Bearer, the creepy manager who accompanied The Undertaker to fame in the WWE during the 1990s, has died at age 58.
Bearer burst into the WWE in the early 1990s, playing a spooky funeral director who was seen outside the ring as a manager for several wrestlers, most notably The Undertaker. He worked for other wrestlers, however, including Rick Rude, Vader, Mankind, and Kane.
It has not yet been reported how Paul Bearer died, but TMZ notes that he suffered from serious health issues in the past decade including morbid obesity and gallbladder problems.
Once weighing 525 pounds, Paul Bearer had gastric bypass surgery and dropped down to below 300 pounds.
On Tuesday, the WWE broke the news of Paul Bearer’s death, issuing this statement:
“WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of William Moody, aka Paul Bearer. Moody made his WWE debut in 1991 as the manager of The Undertaker and went on to become a memorable part of WWE over the course of the next 20 years.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Moody’s family, friends and fans.”
As a tribute, the WWE posted some classic videos of Paul Bearer during his time in the league.
Bearer was predeceased by his wife Donna, who died from complications resulting from breast cancer and chemotherapy in 2009. He has two sons, Michael and Daniel.
As news of Paul Bearer’s death spread, many wrestlers from all areas of the WWE mourned on Twitter and other social media.
Saddened to hear of my pal Paul Bearer passing away. I was informed a few moments after he silently went. A great fellow has gone
— Honky Tonk Man (@OfficialHTM) March 6, 2013
It’s very sad to hear about the passing of a great & unique performer, Bill Moody-Paul Bearer. My thoughts & prayers go out to his family.
— Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) March 6, 2013
Just informed via wwe.com Paul Bearer aka Percy Pringle passed away earlier today. I have no other details. RIP old friend.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) March 6, 2013
After leaving the WWE in 2005, Paul Bearer made sporadic appearances for the league, including promotional and autograph sessions. He worked as recently as last year, when in April he returned for a brief stint as part of Kane’s feud with Randy Orton.
For the plot line, Paul Bearer was kidnapped, tied to a wheelchair and placed in a storage freezer.
As Paul Bearer dies, his family has a chance to continue his legacy in the wrestling world. His son Daniel is now a wrestler on the independent circuit who goes by DJ Pringle.