Veteran pro wrestler “The Patriot” Del Wilkes has reportedly passed away.
The legendary Wilkes passed away earlier today from a massive heart attack, according to The Charleston Post & Courier. He was just 59 years old.
Wilkes, who leaves behind a wife of 40+ years named Cathy, began wrestling in 1988, and had runs with WWE, WCW, AWA, promotions in Japan, and more. He is a former two-time WCW World Tag Team Champion, and a former AWA World Tag Team Champion. Wilkes last wrestled for WWE in October 1997, losing to WWE Hall of Famer Jim Neidhart on Shotgun Saturday Night. He was released in early 1998.
Wilkes retired from pro wrestling after leaving WWE due to a triceps injury. He had worked for the past 16 years as a car salesman in Columbia, South Carolina. He also hosted the “Unmasking the Truth” podcast on the WWAB Podcast Network. Florida-based pastor Andy McDaniel, who hosted the podcast with Wilkes, issued a statement to The Post & Courier.
“Del Wilkes would become a name that those in college football knew quite well. He would make his name familiar in the world of pro wrestling as well. However, regardless of the accolades or fame he may have achieved, to me, he was best known as a friend. Del overcame his struggles in this life and became an inspiration to many. Our loss is Heaven’s gain,” McDaniel said.
Stay tuned for more on Wilkes’ passing.