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Bray Wyatt, WWE star who won 2017 championship, dies at 36

World Wrestling Entertainment star Bray Wyatt died Thursday, WWE announced. He was 36.

Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda, died "unexpectedly," according to an article on the WWE website that did not mention a cause of death.

"WWE is saddened to learn that Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 24, at age 36," WWE said. "WWE extends its condolences to Rotunda's family, friends and fans."

Wyatt, the 2017 WWE champion, was also known as "The Fiend." His last televised performance came at the 2023 Royal Rumble.

Wyatt won the 2017 WWE championship by defeating both John Cena and AJ Styles to reach the title — the previous two men to hold the belt, CBS Sports reported.

John Cena, Bray Wyatt
John Cena, left, and Bray Wyatt, right, compete during Wrestlemania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans on Sunday, April 6, 2014.  Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE

"Known for his captivating performances and incredible in-ring presence, Wyatt was a defining superstar of his generation," WWE said.

Wyatt was the son of Mike and Stephanie Rotunda.

Wyatt's grandfather Robert Deroy Windham (Blackjack Mulligan), father, and two of his uncles (Barry and Kendall Windham) all wrestled in WWE. His grandfather also played college football at UTEP and saw preseason action for the New York Jets.

Wyatt redshirted on the Troy football team in 2007.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson reacted to the news on social media.

"Im heartbroken over the news of Bray Wyatt's passing," he wrote. "Always had tremendous respect and love for him and the Rotunda family. Loved his presence, promos, in ring work and connection with @wwe universe." 

Wyatt's death was announced just one day after it was revealed that WWE wrestling icon Terry Funk died at age 79. Funk's cause of death was not immediately released, but his manager Timothy Beal told CBS News that the legendary wrestler "was in bad health for some time" and was "in a nursing home."

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