Eddie Guerrero was one of the most popular and talented professional wrestlers of his generation. Known for his technical prowess in the ring and his natural charisma, Guerrero captured the hearts of fans all over the world. His tragic and untimely passing at the young age of 38 left the wrestling world in shock. In this article, we will explore the cause of Eddie Guerrero’s tragic death, look at his struggles with addiction, and examine the impact his passing had on his family and the world of professional wrestling.
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The Cause of Eddie Guerrero’s Death
On November 13, 2005, Eddie Guerrero was found unconscious in his hotel room in Minneapolis, Minnesota by his nephew Chavo Guerrero. He was rushed to the hospital but was sadly pronounced dead. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner later determined that Guerrero had died as a result of acute heart failure due to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
In simpler terms, Guerrero had developed coronary artery disease that led to a blocked artery preventing blood flow to his heart. This lack of blood caused his heart to go into failure and ultimately led to his death. Guerrero’s autopsy also revealed signs of past anabolic steroid use which may have contributed to his heart disease. However, acute heart failure was ruled as the official cause.
Guerrero’s sudden passing was a devastating shock to the wrestling world. He had just performed in a match the previous night and had passed a WWE physical exam just 4 days prior. By all outward appearances, Guerrero was the picture of health. His wife later indicated he had been complaining of chest pains in the week leading up to his death, but did not think it was anything serious. Sadly, it was his undiagnosed heart condition that claimed his life so suddenly at just 38 years old.
Eddie Guerrero’s Struggles with Addiction
While Eddie Guerrero was enjoying huge success as a WWE wrestler in the final years of his career, he battled addiction for many years prior. Guerrero openly admitted to abusing alcohol, pain killers, anabolic steroids and other drugs for much of his career.
His addictions caused Guerrero significant personal turmoil during the late 90s and early 2000s. He separated from his wife Vickie, lost his job with WWE for several years, and was involved in a near-fatal car accident while driving under the influence in 1998. At his lowest point, Guerrero was homeless and living out of his car.
Guerrero stated that he began drinking as early as age 14 to try to cope with the pressure of growing up part of a famous wrestling family. His small size and desire to bulk up also led him to experiment with steroids and painkillers at an early age. As Guerrero’s wrestling career took off, his substance abuse intensified. He later acknowledged he was addicted but felt the drugs helped his in-ring performance.
In 2001, after his near-fatal car accident, Guerrero entered rehabilitation. He got sober, reconciled with his wife, and returned to WWE in 2002 a new man. Guerrero credited his renewed faith in God for helping him turn his life around. Though addiction impacted much of his career, Guerrero enjoyed his greatest success in the years after rehabilitation.
The Impact on the Guerrero Family
Eddie Guerrero was a member of the famous Guerrero wrestling family. His father Gory Guerrero was a legendary Mexican wrestler who ran wrestling promotions across the southwest U.S. Eddie’s brothers Chavo, Hector, and Mando all followed their father into wrestling careers, as did Eddie’s nephew Chavo Jr.
Eddie’s death was devastating for the tight-knit Guerrero clan. Brothers and nephews alike grieved the loss of their son, sibling, and friend. Guerrero’s widow Vickie has said Eddie’s passing left a “huge void” in their family. She was forced to take a larger role in managing the Guerrero family business.
For nephew Chavo Guerrero Jr., Eddie had been both uncle and mentor. The younger Guerrero struggled both professionally and personally following the loss. He used his own battles with addiction to try to help others not repeat his uncle’s mistakes.
While Eddie’s passing caused tremendous grief, the Guerreros also celebrated the joy he brought them when alive. To honor his memory, they established the Eddie Guerrero Memorial Scholarship at the University of Phoenix to support Hispanic students. Guerrero’s legacy lives on in his family and fans.
The Impact on Professional Wrestling
Beyond his family, Eddie Guerrero’s death sent shockwaves through professional wrestling. He was an icon among the Latino fanbase and one of WWE’s most popular performers when he passed.
Guerrero’s death forced the WWE to take a hard look at its policies to protect performer health. In 2007, WWE instituted the Talent Wellness Program which includes cardiovascular testing, monitoring for signs of substance abuse, and further drug testing.
While it came too late to detect Guerrero’s condition, the Wellness Policy aims to prevent similar tragedies befalling today’s WWE talent. Guerrero’s heart failure increased scrutiny on the physical toll wrestling takes on performers’ bodies.
Guerrero’s influence is still felt in wrestling today. Current Latino stars like Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio consider Guerrero an inspiration. His classic matches and raucous promos live on among fans. The wrestling world suffered an enormous loss when Guerrero passed in his prime.
Eddie Guerrero left an indelible legacy as one of wrestling’s all-time greats. His tragic death from heart disease saddened millions of fans and devastated his family. While substance abuse impacted his health and career, Guerrero overcame his demons in the end.
Guerrero’s passing led to positive changes in WWE’s policies concerning performer health. The Guerrero family keeps Eddie’s spirit alive through their continued contributions to wrestling and by honoring his memory. Though gone too soon, Guerrero’s impact on wrestling will never be forgotten.
Frequently Asked Questions
What caused Eddie Guerrero’s heart failure?
Eddie Guerrero died as a result of acute heart failure stemming from severe atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease that blocked blood flow to his heart. His autopsy also showed signs of past anabolic steroid use which may have contributed to his heart disease.
How old was Eddie Guerrero when he died?
Guerrero was just 38 years old when he passed away on November 13, 2005 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
What addiction problems did Eddie struggle with?
Throughout his career, Guerrero admitted to abusing alcohol, painkillers, steroids, and recreational drugs. His addictions nearly cost him his marriage, career, and life before he entered rehab in 2001.
How did Eddie’s death impact WWE?
Guerrero’s sudden death forced WWE to reevaluate its policies on talent health. In response, WWE introduced a Wellness Program in 2007 that includes cardiovascular testing, drug testing, and monitoring for substance abuse.
How has Eddie’s family honored his legacy?
The Guerrero family keeps Eddie’s memory alive by running the Eddie Guerrero Memorial Scholarship to help Hispanic students. They also credit his struggles with addiction for teaching them to help others avoid similar problems.