His death has shocked the wrestling community as family, fans and friends mourn the loss of a legend that left a legacy in the world of WWE.
Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda, fought under several names including Husky Harris, Alex Rotunda, Duke Rotundo and The Fiend.
The champion had been dealing with an undisclosed health problem in recent months and had not competed since February.
WWE wrestler-turned-executive Triple H announced Rotunda’s death on Thursday (24 August).
“Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda who informed us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda - also known as Bray Wyatt – unexpectedly passed earlier today,” he wrote on X. “Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”
Tributes continue to pour in, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also sharing heartbreak over the loss of someone he had “tremendous respect” for.
“I’m heartbroken over the news of Bray Wyatt’s passing. Always had tremendous respect and love for him and the Rotunda family. Loved his presence, promos, in ring work and connection with @wwe universe.
“Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy world of pro wrestling. Still processing losing the goat [greatest of all time] Terry Funk yesterday and now Bray today. My love, light, strength & mana to the Rotunda family and Funk family during this tough, heartbreaking time,” Dwayne wrote on X.
WWE icon John Cena, a former in-ring rival of Rotunda, also paid tribute and wrote on X: “Devastated by the news of the passing of Windham Rotunda. My heart goes out to the entire Rotunda family. Windham brought the best out of me in so many ways. I’m forever grateful for the moments we shared. A sad day for all those he reached around the world. RIP.”
His “rare” and much-loved character will be remembered by many. From the 2019 Universal Championship Crown Jewel win to the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber – Wyatt left a true mark of strength, good character and agility during his WWE career.
Here are some of his best moments
The Wyatt Family’s WWE Debut
The Bray Wyatt character was born on an episode of "WWE NXT" that aired in 2012, but it took some time before the wrestling world at large would know his name.
Wyatt introduced Luke Harper as his “first son” and Erick Rowan as his “second son” in the show. Harper and Rowan eventually secured the NXT Tag Team Championship, beating the inaugural champions ‘British Ambition.’
It wasn’t long before The Wyatt Family made its WWE main roster debut with a memorable appearance on Monday Night Raw. Let’s set the scene; it’s 2013, Wyatt enters embracing his evil cult leader character – a strong entrance as the crowd roars around him.
The Bray Wyatt character is unleashed as he makes his main roster debut in WWE Raw. The Wyatt Family enter the main roster as a villainous faction terrorising other WWE wrestlers, including Kane, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and The Shield, among others.
The group separated in 2014 after Wyatt announced that he was setting “Harper and Rowan free”. As a result, Rowan would turn into a heroic character and eventually join John Cena’s team at Survivor Series, while Harper would remain villainous and side with the Authority.
In 2015, The Wyatt Family reunited after a brief feud between Harper and Rowan – this time though, Braun Stowman joined the stable.
In 2016, Randy Orton joined the group eventually helping them win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship but Harper left not long after this. The group would eventually be disbanded for good in 2017 following a feud between Wyatt and Orton.
Bray Wyatt wins first WWE Title
Wyatt’s first and only WWE Championship win came at the 2017 Elimination Chamber premium live event and is known to be one of his most memorable and iconic moments.
The Elimination Chamber roared as Wyatt slammed AJ Styles in the ring. Wyatt countered Styles’ ‘Phenomenal Forearm’ into his ‘Sister Abigail’ finisher to ascend to the top of the mountain in WWE.
“Here’s your winner and the new WWE champion, Bray Wyatt,” the announcer bellowed to a rapturous ovation.
“In the soul-stealing structure known as the Elimination Chamber, the Reaper of Souls, Bray Wyatt has won his first WWE championship. The era of Wyatt is here,” commentator Mauro Ranallo added.
The champion held his WWE belt in an iconic win that will always be remembered by his loyal fans but would send him on a collision course with Randy Orton at that year’s WrestleMania.
Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt, Royal Rumble 2014
“I don’t need you to fight this war for me,” Wyatt shouted at Harper and Rowan as they tried to help Wyatt in his fight against another former Wyatt Family member, Daniel Bryan at the 2014 Royal Rumble.
Wyatt ultimately didn’t need any help, as he defeated former WWE champion Bryan in one of the best matches of Wyatt’s career.
The match received a 4-star rating from the prestigious Wrestling Observer Newsletter by Dave Meltzer and was the highest-rated singles match of his career.
The Fiend makes his first entrance
The 2019 SummerSlam crowd was introduced to a new side of Wyatt as The Fiend made his debut with a haunting entrance and a completely new monstrous look and seemingly indestructible persona.
“The Fiend seemed to have stepped out of the collective population’s nightmares and into our reality,” the WWE website said – and it was just that.
A nightmare turned into a reality as The Fiend feasted in an episode of Raw and attacked rival Finn Balor with Sister Abigail, re-establishing himself as a heel [villain].
In the Fiend’s first match at SummerSlam, he quickly defeated Balor. Over the next several weeks The Fiend attacked several WWE Hall of Famers and legends including Kurt Angle, Jerry Lawler, Kane, and Mick Foley, also adopting Foley’s finishing manoeuvre, The Mandible Claw.
The Fiend then began an international feud with Universal Champion Seth Rollins by attacking him at the Clash of Champions.
Head-to-head with Rollins, The Fiend would eventually beat Rollins at the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia but not before a Hell in a Cell match, which ended in controversial fashion with a disqualification.
John Cena vs The Fiend
Two legends marked the stage, as The Fiend scored one of the biggest wins of his career on Night 2 of WrestleMania 36 defeating John Cena in a Firefly Fun House match.
The match itself is somewhat difficult to describe but during the Covid lockdown era, it became known as a ‘cinematic match.’ The contest largely revolved around the two cycling through famous moments that looked back at both of their careers.
As the match went on, Wyatt channelled The Fiend and put Cena in the Mandible Claw.
He then made the three-count himself for the victory – making him the winner in the Firefly Fun House match and avenging a loss that Cena had given to Wyatt six years previously at WrestleMania 30.
Bray Wyatt returns at WWE Extreme Rules in 2022
After being surprisingly released by the company in 2021, Wyatt made a spectacular return in October 2022 with a few extra characters from his ‘Firefly Fun House’ children’s TV presenter persona in tow.
This was teased with vignettes and clues throughout WWE television for months with a mysterious ‘white rabbit’ randomly appearing with little to no context.
QR codes began appearing on television and the WWE website sending the WWE Universe spiralling down a literal rabbit hole to find the identity of this mysterious figure.
Revealed to be Wyatt, WWE said it was one of the most “unsettling, unpredictable” but what he had in store for his fans will now forever remain a mystery.
Wyatt introduced the mysterious Uncle Howdy character, which fans suspected was another form of his identity but was eventually revealed to be a different person entirely. However, Wyatt had just one televised match in this return run, against LA Knight at the 2023 Royal Rumble. A planned match with Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania was cancelled with his last ever appearance on WWE occurring on Smackdown on February 17th.