Former grappler Brad Armstrong found dead in Georgia home
3rd in a series: Mike Graham's life ended in suicide the same violent way as his father and son before him: With a gunshot blast to the head. Far too many wrestlers have died before the age of 65 over the last 2 1/2 decades. The latest is Brad Armstrong, shown in this video from YouTube and in the photo below, who died Thursday.
DAYTONA BEACH -- Before Mike Graham has even been laid to rest, another former professional wrestler has died unexpectedly.
Brad Armstrong was found dead in his home on Thursday. He was 51. Tampa Bay's Graham, 10 years older, shot and killed himself on Oct. 18, the opening night of the four-day Biketoberfest here in Daytona.
The retired grappler's death was announced by the WWE, which stated it was "saddened to learn of the passing of Brad Armstrong, 51, one of four sons of 'Bullet' Bob Armstrong. Brad Armstrong last participated in the ring for the ECW brand in 2006. WWE understands that Brad saw his physician last week for a medical issue and was found unresponsive this morning. WWE extends its sincerest condolences to the entire Armstrong family."
Armstrong's more famous wrestling father, now 73, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last year.
Having started wrestling professionally in 1980, Brad Armstrong outside the ring was legally Robert Bradley "Brad" James, born June 16, 1961, in Marietta, Ga.
Armstrong, who had gone to his physician for an undisclosed medical issue, was found dead in his Marietta home Thursday morning. And while the wrestling world comes to grips with the death of one of its own from a prominent wrestling family -- besides the patriarch, Armstrong has three brothers in the business: Brian, Scott and Steve -- another famous wrestling family will attend a funeral today.
The services for Mike Graham is being held in Largo. Graham, whose real name was Edward Michael Gosssett, put a revolver to his forehead and pulled the trigger.
His wife of eight years, Diane Marie Hamilton, who just left the beachside residence where they were staying heard the gunshot and ran back in where she found his lifeless body face up with the gun on a pillow to his left.
The Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled Graham's death a suicide. His wrestling-promoter father, Eddie Graham, killed himself the same violent way back in 1985. And Mike Graham's 37-year-old son, Steve also died the same violent way nearly two years ago in his Tampa residence. The son, though, was not a wrestler.
Graham's wife told Daytona cops he was depressed over the death of his son two years earlier at the same biker rally, but a close family relative said the younger Graham actually committed suicide two months later in his Tampa home.
A celebration of Mike Graham's life is scheduled 2 to 4 p.m. today at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive Largo, FL.
Editor's Note: Frederick. who specializes in legal affairs investigative reporting, also is a fan of professional wrestling and has followed it from the age of 5. He's interviewed the likes of Chris Jericho, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, George "the Animal" Steele, Diamond Dallas Page and many others. He's working on a book, "Wrestling Rewind," that will be published early next year.