Popular wrestler Del Wilkes breathed his last on Thursday, July 1, at the age of 59 after suffering a heart attack. The wrestler’s death was announced by his mother in a Facebook post. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in an official statement also condoled the death of ‘The Patriot’. WWE mentioned that before entering the world of wrestling, Wilkes was a football player for University of South Carolina. He was so good at the sport that he ended up getting the distinction of being voted a consensus All-American.
He landed in WWE in 1997 after competing in different competitions across the world. Wilkesgained popularity as ‘The Patriot’ in WWE and became a favourite of many wrestling enthusiasts. He also donned the colours of the American flag in a match against Bret Hart for the WWE Championship at In Your House: Ground Zero. This had happened only two months after he had made his WWE debut. The wrestler was also famous for his intense rivalry with a tag team named, The Hart Foundation.
The late wrestler had also been a part of the All Japan Pro Wrestling between 1992 and 1994. He quit the organisation after signing with World Championship Wrestling. After his stintthere, he went back to All Japan Pro Wrestling which he again quit for World Wrestling Federation. Thewrestling career lasted for nine years during which he was also a part of American Wrestling Association, and Global Wrestling Federation. His lastwrestling match was televised on November 1, 1997. In the outing,Wilkeslost to Jim Neidhart via disqualification.
He retired from wrestling because of injuries and personal issues. After his stint as a wrestler, he took up a job as a car salesman in Columbia, South Carolina. The Patriot had been arrested 20 times between 1998 and 2007 because of his addiction to painkillers. He had, in fact, served imprisonment for nine months in an Aiken prison facility for allegedly doing a fraud in prescription. Apart from that, he had also pleaded guilty in a domestic assault case in 1999.