Tuesday evening, the wrestling world was rocked with news that it had lost one of its true shining stars. William Moody, better known to longtime WWE fans as Paul Bearer, has passed away at the age of 58. WWE posted their official announcement HERE.
Even before he took on the role as manager of the legendary phenom known as The Undertaker, Moody made an impact even here in Texas, at World Class Championship Wrestling.
In 1979, he began his managing career under the name Percy Pringle III and made the rounds through several southern independant promotions. During his time at WCCW, he was involved in several storylines that involved the likes of Steve Austin, Chris Adams, Skandor Akbar, and a guy he would become familiar with in later years, The Undertaker.
As a matter of fact, those two would meet up again in December of 1990 in the World Wrestling Federation. The Undertaker, who was introduced by "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase a month earlier at the Survivor Series, took on Moody as his manager under the name Paul Bearer. The idea came from Moody's background as a certified funeral director.
Throughout the 1990's, Paul Bearer and The Undertaker were side-by-side in the WWF. The spent six incredible years as a tandem, until SummerSlam 1996 when Bearer turned on his longtime associate to join Mick "Mankind" Foley.
Then in the fall of 1997, Bearer introduced the man that would be known as the brother of The Undertaker. During a Hell In A Cell match with Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker was rocked by the mysterious appearance of Kane, being led to the ring by Bearer.
He led Kane on a destructive path through the WWF, portraying him as an indestructible monster that quickly became engulfed in a feud with his brother. Bearer stayed at the center of the rivalry that escalated for several years. When The Undertaker fell victim to an injury in 1999, both he and Bearer departed from the company.
Bearer wouldn't return until 2002, when he brought The Undertaker back at WrestleMania XX to face Kane once again. He made sporadic appearances over the next several years, rejoining the brothers as they had united as a lethal tag team. Most recently, he had been seen in April of 2012 with Kane for his feud with Randy Orton.
Outside of the wrestling business, Moody's wife fell victim to breast caner in 2009. He often spoke of her in interviews and on his social media pages. He had taken his own health into consideration several years earlier, and underwent gastric bypass surgery. At one point, he admitted to weighing over 500 pounds, but over the course of a year had dropped over 200 pounds and was significantly improving.
In recent weeks, Moody had cancelled several upcoming appearances. He cited health reasons as to why he was unable to appear. His son Michael said on Tuesday evening that his father was checked into a hospital on Sunday after not feeling well.
Not much more is known about the cause of death other than rumored heart problems. Regardless, our thoughts and prayers along with those of the entire wrestling world go out to his immediate family and friends during this time.