Wrestling's 'Mr. Perfect' dies
Curt Hennig is found dead in a Brandon hotel room at
age 44. He was to wrestle Monday night at the state fair.
Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig lived under the spotlights for more than two
He performed for crowds at Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden and
Caesar's Palace. He wrestled Hulk Hogan and
Ric Flair and Dennis Rodman. He hoisted bulky, ornate title belts
But hours before he was to wrestle Monday in a mostly empty arena at a
state fair, Hennig's career -- and his life -- ended in a Brandon hotel
Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies said a housekeeper found
Hennig's body shortly after 1 p.m. at the Homestead Suites, 330 Grand
Deputies said his death was not a suicide, nor do they suspect foul
play. His body was turned over to the Hillsborough Medical Examiner's
Office, and a sheriff's investigation is continuing.
Hennig, 44, had been scheduled to perform several miles away at the
Florida State Fair at 7 p.m. as part of the Jimmy Hart's All-Star
As show time neared, several wrestlers emerged to sign autographs and
take pictures with fans. Most seemed somber, even shocked.
"He was one of the best human beings on this planet," said wrestler
Mike Bollea, known in the ring as Horace. "Curt kept the locker room
alive. He was one of the boys."
Brian Knobbs, formerly of the Nasty Boys, said he will take the loss
harder than most.
"I have been best friends with him for 17 years," Knobbs said. "It's
almost like Dale Earnhardt when he passed away. You want to cry. You
never know when your last day is. You just give thanks (each day)."
Bollea and Knobbs talked about Hennig's infectious sense of humor, his
passion for fishing and hunting, his love for
his four children. They said they had no idea what might have caused
Said Knobbs: "He was Mr. Perfect."
Hennig had the sport in his blood. He grew up the son of Larry "The Ax"
Hennig, a famous wrestler in the 1960s.
The younger Hennig began his professional career in 1979 and steadily
grew in fame. In the 1980s and 1990s, he became a star for both the
World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling.
He wrestled alongside some of the sport's legends, such as Bret Hart
and Kevin Nash, Ric Flair and Randy Savage, Hulk
Hogan and Andre the Giant.
His career suffered a setback last year when, during a charter flight
from England, he got into a fight with fellow wrestler Brock Lesner,
allegedly spraying shaving cream in Lesner's hair.
The incident got Hennig fired from World Wrestling Entertainment
(formerly WWF), but it didn't stop him from bragging
about the fight.
On Monday, Jimmy Hart himself grabbed a microphone and stood in the
center of the small ring.
"I'm really sorry to start the show with sad news," he said.
He told the crowd -- no more than 200 people in an arena that holds
thousands -- of Mr. Perfect's death.
"We loved him," Hart said, "and I'm sure all wrestling fans all over
the world ... are hurting as much as we are."
The lights dimmed. More than 20 wrestlers walked solemnly into the hazy
light of the stage and stood with heads bowed.
A ringside bell clanged 10 times. Then the show went on.
<<BACK TO NEWS INDEX
^^BACK TO TOP^^