Paul Orndorff, a.k.a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler "Mr. Wonderful", has died at the age of 71.
His son Travis announced the sad news on Instagram on Monday, July 12.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr.," Travis wrote alongside a photo of the father and son hugging. "Most of you will remember him for his physique. Many will remember his intensity. But if I could only get you to understand and see his heart. He will always be Pop, Paw Paw, and Daddy at home."
"And as much as many of you hated him as a wrestler, he absolutely loved you for it. He was an amazing father that showed me more love than I ever deserved," he added. "I love you Daddy."
Travis also noted that there was a fundraiser on GoFundMe for funeral expenses, which has raised almost $8,000 of its $15,000 goal so far.
A cause of death has not been reported.
Orndorff initially began his athletic career as a football player. In 1973, he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, but did not pass the NFL physical. He later played for the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League. Not too long after that, he switched his focus to professional wrestling.
Orndorff gained a following as "The Brandon Bull" in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) before signing with the World Wrestling Federation in 1983. One year later in 1984, Orndorff made his WWF, now WWE, debut in Madison Square Garden against Salvatore Bellomo.
His nickname "Mr. Wonderful" was given to him by his manager.
WWE said they were "saddened" to learn of Orndorff's passing and extended "its condolences to Orndorff’s family and friends" in a statement.
Fellow wrestlers and fans took to social media to offer tributes.
"Just got slammed with the Paul Orndorff news,RIP my brother,love you and thank you for always making me fight for everything in our matches,heaven just got even more Wonderful,love U4LifeHH," Hulk Hogan wrote.
"My heart and my prayers go out to the family of my friend and colleague, Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff. Great wrestler and many great memories. Rest In Peace my friend," Ted DiBiase shared.
"I've watched Paul Orndorff my entire life. I've paid to see him wrestle so many times. Never saw him have a bad match ever Truly Wonderful #piledriver," Tom Dreamer tweeted.
"Paul Orndorff was a true, man’s man. A stud. Condolences to Paul’s family and friends," Jim Ross wrote.