The professional wrestling world is mourning the loss of one of its greats, “Paul Bearer.” Bearer, whose real name was William Moody, died Tuesday night, just a day after World Wrestling Enterttainment aired “Old School Monday Night Raw.”
The WWE released a statement on Tuesday announcing the death of the 58-year-old manager to The Undertaker.
“WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of William Moody, aka Paul Bearer,” the statement read. “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.”
The cause of death was not released, but TMZ reported that Moody suffered from “serious health problems over the past decade, including morbid obesity and gallbladder issues.”
Tributes from other members of WWE, both past and present, have poured in to mourn the loss of Paul Bearer.
"Rest in peace, Paul Bearer. You will never be forgotten. There will never be another,” Triple H tweeted.
“Very sad about Paul Bearer, he was a great person and one of the original boys,” Hulk Hogan wrote. “He was what made wrestling great. Much love.”
“I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Paul Bearer,” Shawn Michaels wrote. “Our prayers go out to him and his family. God bless!”
“Just found out Paul Bearer died tonight,” The Miz wrote on Twitter. “He was always so nice when I talked to him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Bearer made his debut in 1991 as The Undertaker's manager and went on to manage other wrestlers, including Kane, Rick Rude, Vader and Mankind. Before the WWE, then called the World Wrestling Federation, Moody was known as Percival Pringle III, a manager in World Class Championship Wrestling, according to The Bleacher Report.
Frequently carrying around an urn for The Undertaker, Moody became one of WWE’s most memorable characters as a funeral director with pale face makeup and dark features.
“[His] charisma, and his theatrical appeal was absolutely perfect for the character of Paul Bearer,” Tom Clark of The Bleacher Report wrote. “Though it was odd to see a seven-foot undead monster being led to the ring by a bizarre little man with a wild-eyed, ghost-white face and pitch-black hair, the combo just seemed to work together. It was a brilliant pairing for WWE and in an age when many pro wrestling managers wore three-piece suits and ran stables full of talent, Paul Bearer needed only his black funeral attire. He also only needed one wrestler to solidify his spot as one of WWE’s all-time best managers.”
Moody left the WWE in 2002 but returned two years later. His last appearance was in 2012 when Kane locked him a freezer, The Sun reported.