Professional wrestling legend Terry Funk has passed away. He was 79 years old.
Wrestling icons Ric Flair and Mick Foley acknowledged the news Wednesday afternoon. WWE confirmed it shortly after.
Terry Funk is gone. I just talked to Terry’s daughter, Brandee, who gave me the awful news. He was my mentor, my idol, one of the closest friends. He was the greatest wrestler I ever saw.
If you get the chance, look up a Terry Funk match or a Terry Funk promo, and give thanks… pic.twitter.com/WwdFLwXqZ0
— Mick Foley (@foleyispod) August 23, 2023
In My Entire Life, I’ve Never Met A Guy Who Worked Harder. Terry Funk Was A Great Wrestler, Entertainer, Unbelievably Fearless, And A Great Friend! Rest In Peace My Friend Terry Funk Knowing That No One Will Ever Replace You In The World Of Professional Wrestling! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/EYMAKOzxnx
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) August 23, 2023
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk has passed away at the age of 79.
WWE extends its condolences to Funk’s family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/1elQq5ZkDn
— WWE (@WWE) August 23, 2023
Funk, whose in-ring career spanned six decades, wrestled for nearly every major U.S. wrestling promotion, winning countless championships and earning accolades across the industry. He spent the majority of his early career as a tag-team partner with his brother, Dory Funk Jr., working in his father’s Western States Sports promotion in Amarillo, Texas, in the 1960s.
As a singles competitor, arguably Funk’s biggest career moment came in 1975, when he captured the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a match against Jack Brisco. Funk held the prestigious title for more than a year. Funk’s victory, combined with Dory Jr.’s title reign years earlier, gave the duo the distinction as the only brothers to both hold the championship.
Known primarily as a brawler, Funk’s style helped make him and his brother stars both in the U.S. and overseas in All Japan Pro Wrestling. Later in his career, Funk helped pioneer the “hardcore” style of wrestling during his memorable feud with Ric Flair in World Championship Wrestling, competing in the International Wrestling Association of Japan’s “King of the Death Match Tournament” and eventually joining Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Funk had several stints with WWE, the most impactful of which came during the promotion’s heralded “Attitude Era” in the late 1990s. Performing initially as “Chainsaw Charlie” and then under his actual name, Funk both teamed and feuded with Foley, who also helped popularize hardcore wrestling as Cactus Jack in the 1990s. In fact, Funk and Foley competed in the finals of the aforementioned “King of the Death Match Tournament” in 1995.
Funk’s career continued until 2017, with stints in ECW, WCW, TNA, WWE, All Japan and various other independent promotions. Funk was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside his brother in 2009. He’s also a member of the NWA, International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame and the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, among others. Funk won the Iron Mike Mazurki Award from the prestigious Cauliflower Alley Club in 2005.
In addition to his professional wrestling career, Funk appeared in several movies and TV shows, including “Over the Top,” “Road House” and stunt work on both “Rambo III” and “Rocky V.”
Funk’s health issues became public in 2021, when wrestling legend Don Muraco revealed that Funk had been suffering from dementia and was in an assisted living facility. His Twitter account later confirmed that he was dealing with multiple health issues.
News of Funk’s passing sparked an outpouring of emotion from the wrestling world.
Just heard that Terry Funk is gone. Truly heartbroken over this. He has known me since I was a child. He was an incredible mentor and friend. Love him so much and sad to see him go. I know he is no longer in pain and has probably rekindled his war with Pops in heaven. Rest easy…
— Dustin Rhodes (@dustinrhodes) August 23, 2023
There will never be another Terry Funk.
RIP to an icon in wrestling.
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) August 23, 2023
One of the best to tie them out. And also one of the most underrated.
RIP Terry Funk pic.twitter.com/YROrCl2Eyo
— Matthew Rehwoldt (@DramaKingMatt) August 23, 2023
The beautiful thing about Terry Funk is depending on your age or generation, you quite likely identify him with a completely different list of legendary accolades and moments as someone from another generation. pic.twitter.com/na07zMa9sy
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) August 23, 2023
A day I wish would never come. Thank you Terry Funk for what did for wrestling. Thank you for helping ECW. Thank you for being kind to me. I love you....
TERRY FUNK FOREVER!
FOREVER! FOREVER! FOREVER!#RestInPeaceTerryFunk pic.twitter.com/FfRPOGvErK
— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) August 23, 2023
There are no words…💔
God Bless Terry Funk. 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/0uwlZ92rG4
— Bully Ray (@bullyray5150) August 23, 2023
I’m very sad to hear of the passing of a true legend & a great person, Terry Funk. Several of us had the honor & pleasure of being at his Double Cross Ranch many years ago after a show in Amarillo, I’ll never forget that!! Words can’t explain how Terry was just GREAT on so many… pic.twitter.com/ftA7jUtAqt
— taz (@OfficialTAZ) August 23, 2023