Wrestler Hulk Hogan today led tributes to legendary wrestling Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff who has died at the age of 71. “Mr Wonderful” has suffered with numerous health issues over the last few year, including serious illnesses such as cancer and dementia. In a sad day for wrestling fans, the announcement was made earlier today, along with the setting up of a GoFundMe page link, which was set up a few days ago to help prepare for the idol’s farewell funeral. Writing on his Instagram account the wrestler’s son, Travis Orndorff gave this tribute.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. . He is better known as “Mr. #1derful” Paul Orndorff. 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. I love you Daddy. A donation page is available in my bio for funeral expenses. Any close friends whom would like to speak at his funeral, please message me on Instagram Travis_Orndorff. -Travis Orndorff #RIPMr#1derful”
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It was reported last week that Orndorff had been signed out of a medical facility by his son so he would be able to spend his last days at home, surrounded by family. While his cause of death has not been released, it is clear from this that one of his many recent ailments was taking a toll that was known to be too great for even the great opponent of Hulk Hogan to overcome.
Orndorff was born in Brandon, Florida and began his pro-wrestling career in Mid-Southern Wrestling after spending time training with Jack Brisco, Bob Backlund, Eddie Graham and Hiro Matsuda. Through his career he joined the WWF between 1983-1988, and after numerous other promotions he became part of WCW between 1992-2001, and in 2005 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as well as becoming a member of the 2009 Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Despite his retirement from the ring due to a neck injury sustained in 2000, he made one comeback match at the age of 67 in 2017, and in the same year was an inductee into the Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame.
“Mr Wonderful” was one Hulk Hogan’s first foes at the first Wrestlemania and was one of the top challengers to the Hulk’s world title when they were both in their prime. Hogan was one of the first to pay tribute to the star, posting on his Twitter account, “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”
The battle between the two giants of the ring continued throughout the 1980s, but a severe arm injury in1987 put him into early retirement. He returned to national wrestling with WCW in 1990 after recovering, where continued his regular appearances as well as becoming a trainer at the Power Plant school in the mid-90s.
After suffering throat cancer in 2011, Orndorff underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and like every good man in the ring rallied back against the illness, even after being tube fed at one point with days to live. At the CAC in 2016, years after beating the cancer, Orndorff talked about the many broken parts he had acquired over the years: “I broke my neck broke three times, actually four times. After that fourth time, the doctor said, ‘Paul, if you do it any more, two things are going to happen. You’re going to end up in a wheelchair or you’re going to be six feet under.’ I quit then, when he told me that, so I had to quit. I’ve got nuts and bolts and rods and everything else in my neck and I don’t even hurt no more. I still work out.”
Other tributes from former colleagues, wrestling publications and fans have since flooded in, proving that there was a lot of love out there for one of Wrestling’s most iconic stars. Our condolences go out to his family and many friends, and here are just some of the other tributes paid to Orndorff on Twitter.
Topics: Obituaries, WWE
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