WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff has died, his son announced in an Instagram post on Monday.
He was 71.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr," Travis Orndorff wrote. "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."
Travis Orndorff said Paul had been dealing with dementia, which he believes was caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition caused by repeated head trauma. CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously.
Several wrestlers have been diagnosed with CTE following their deaths.
Orndorff spent a quarter-decade in wrestling, getting his start in the territories before signing with WWF in 1983. He was with the company until 1988 when a freak bowling accident caused him to retire, though returned in 1990, first with WCW and then Smoky Mountain.
The stint with Smoky Mountain led to Orndorff re-signing with WCW in 1992, an extended run that continued through the final episode of Nitro in 2001. A neck injury suffered during a match at the 2000 Fall Brawl pay-per-view led to his retirement, with the lasting effects of the injury causing significant muscle loss in his arm.
While Orndorff never won a singles championship in WWE or WCW, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also a member of the NWA Hall of Fame.