Bill Moody, better known as "Paul Bearer," was the manager for fellow WWE wrestler The Undertaker.
The professional wrestling community Wednesday mourned the death of William Moody, a real-life undertaker who gained fame as a wrestling manager with the ring name Paul Bearer.
Bill Moody, better known as his pro wrestling character "Paul Bearer," died Tuesday at age 58 in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., TMZ reported. Early in his career, he also went by the name Percy Pringle III. No cause of death was released, but TMZ said he complained of suffering from a blood clot three days before he died.
Moody reportedly caught an upper respiratory infection in Chicago the week before his death, wrestlingINC reported.
WrestlingINC said Moody was on medication for the infection and had to attend the Gulf Coast Wrestler’s Reunion in Mobile, Ala., last weekend in a wheelchair because of weakness.
World Wrestling Entertainment said Moody made his debut in 1991, when he served as the manager for another wrestler, The Undertaker. He helped launch the careers of wrestlers Kane and Mankind.
Moody "went on to became a memorable part of WWE over the course of the next 20 years," WWE said.
For his spooky character, Moody wore pasty makeup, carried an urn and spoke in a high-pitched wail. He made his last television appearance for WWE in April 2012, the organization said.
Angie Daniel-Poteet, co-owner of Coastal Funeral Home and Cremations in Moss Point, Miss., where Moody worked for about five years until 2010, described him as an upbeat person who always made time for fans and friends.
"He could still put us in our place with 'that look,' " Daniel-Poteet said Wednesday, referring to Moody's signature facial expression, a wide-eyed scowl. "But it wasn't serious, and he never trash-talked fellow wrestlers like others in the wrestling community."
Moody earned the respect of both the national professional wrestling and local funeral-home communities, said Phillip Gilmer, a close friend and owner of Gilmer's Funeral Home in Mobile.
Moody had been having problems in recent months with breathing and sleep apnea, Gilmer said.
"Bill Moody was a gentle giant, a great person with a heart as big as Texas," he said.
The wrestling world responded en masse on Twitter to mourn the loss of one of its stars.
"RIP to one of the earliest WWE personalities to capture my imagination," Jinder Mahal, a WWE wrestler from India, wrote on Twitter.
John Cena, one of WWE's biggest stars, tweeted, "I think most everyone in WWE has a great story about Paul Bearer. I have many, and will always cherish them."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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