Darren Drozdov: WWE star dies age 54 - is cause of death known?
Darren Drozdov was involved in some of the biggest WWE events of the 1990s
WWE fans are mourning the loss of Darren Drozdov, who passed away on 30 June at the age of 54.
Drozdov, known to fans as both Puke and Droz, has been described as an imposing force in the ring by WWE. He was known for capturing the excitement of audiences around the world during his time in the legion of doom, where he teamed up with Animal and his Droz’s World vignettes.
Drozdov, who started his career as an American Football player, also became a writer and a columnist for WWE after his retirement from the sport in 1999.
Here we take a look back at the career of Darren Drozdov and the reaction to his death from his family and some of WWE’s most prominent figures.
Who was Darren Drozdov?
Drozdov was a former American Football player and wrestler who rose to fame during the 1990s.
He started his career as an American Footballer and he played as a defensive tackle (DT) for teams such as the Denver Broncos in the NFL and Montreal Alouettes in the CFL. He enjoyed a three year playing career from 1993 to 1996 before moving into the world of WWE.
The American joined Vince McMahon’s promotion in 1998 and worked primarily in the mid-card. He later teamed up with WWE Hall of Famer Animal to form the New Legion of Doom as he was expected to become a long term replacement for Hawk, who was dealing with personal issues at the time.
Droz returned to single competitions in 1999 but his career was cut short due to an injury that he sustained during SmackDown taping.
Drozdov famously faced D’Lo Brown in a match that is still remembered, although it never aired on TV. During the clash Brown paralysed Droz, who needed to be stretchered off the ring.
Droz spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair after the incident, with WWE maintaining him on their payroll. Despite the injury, Droz said he didn’t blame Brown for the incident.
After his retirement Drozdov remained a prominent figure within the sport and went on to be a regular columnist for the WWE.
Tributes to Darren Drozdov
Drozdov’s death was announced by his family on 30 June in a statement which said the former wrestler had died from “natural causes”. No further details regarding his death have been shared.
The statement said: “We are sad to share that our beloved Darren passed away this morning of natural causes. There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now.
“Darren, affectionately known as ‘Droz’, was involved in a tragic ring accident while wrestling for the WWE in 1999 that rendered him a quadriplegic. Nevertheless, Droz maintained a championship mindset and lived every day to the fullest even though he was unable to move from the neck down for the past 24 years.”
The announcement also added a quote from Drozdov himself, which said: “There is always another day. Just because I’m paralysed and stuck in a wheelchair, doesn’t mean my life is over. I’ve learned to live again, and my life is far from over.”
Former WWE icon and Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson paid tribute to Drozdov, tweeting: “Man I’m so sorry to hear one of our ring brothers has passed away. Darren Drozdov aka Droz. We wrestled on a lot of cards together. Such an awesome dude. Great personality and great wrestling talent.”
Johnson added: “We always talked about football and fishing. Sending love, strength, mana and light to his family. RIP brother.”
Mikey Whipwreck also posted: “Sad to hear about Darren Drozdov’s passing. We mostly lost touch after he left ECW but we had a lot of laughs and good times. Rest in Peace Darren.”