How Did Darren Drozdov Die? Former WWE Star and NFL Player Who was Paralyzed after Accident in the Ring in 1999 Dies Aged 54

Drozdov, also known as 'Droz' among his fans, gained recognition in the world of wrestling when he joined WWE and made his debut in 1998.

Darren Drozdov, a former NFL player who took to professional wrestling but tragically became paralyzed after an in-ring accident, has passed away aged 54, according to WWE. Drozdov, known as "Droz" during his time in WWE during the late 1990s, also played as a nose tackle in the NFL. He played for the Broncos in 1993, appearing in six games.

Drozdov died of natural causes, according to a statement from his family shared by the WWE. Drozdov had a life-altering experience in 1999 while performing in the WWE ring, resulting in him becoming a quadriplegic. The accident occurred during a powerbomb maneuver gone awry.

Died Peacefully

Darren Drozdov
Darren Drozdov Twitter

Drozdov's death was announced by his family in a statement who said he died peacefully. "We are sad to share our beloved Darren passed away this morning of natural causes. There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now," Drozdov's family said in a statement.

Despite his accident, Drozdov's family stated that he maintained a positive and optimistic attitude.

"Droz maintained a championship mindset and lived every day to the fullest even though he was unable to move from the neck down for the past 24 years," the statement continued.

"His own words sum up his relentless positivity in the midst of adversity: 'There is always another day. Just because I'm paralyzed and stuck in a wheelchair, doesn't mean my life is over. I've learned to live again, and my life is far from over.'"

Darren Drozdov
Darren Drozdov Twitter

Drozdov's family also expressed gratitude towards the fans, colleagues, and WWE for the support they received during that challenging time.

"We lived this journey with him over the past 24 years. We were always there through the good times and the bad, and provided him with our unconditional love. We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to everyone," the statement read.

"All of his fans, teammates, colleagues, and friends for all the love and support he received over the years. You all gave him meaning, purpose and something to live for. He loved each and every one of you and cherished the conversations, notes and letters he received. His faith in humanity never faltered, so know that for all the love you've shown him, he loved you back.

Darren Drozdov
Darren Drozdov was left paralyzed for the rest of his life after the freak accident in the ring in 1999 Twitter

"We also would also like to thank WWE for treating him like family, and for all of their love, support and stepping up to make sure that Darren always had the proper care and treatment needed to live in his condition over the past 24 years."

Tributes Pour In

Following the news of the former wrestler's death, an outpouring of tributes started to emerge in honor of Drozdov. "Man I'm so sorry to hear one of our ring brothers has passed away. Darren Drozdov aka Droz," tweeted Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Darren Drozdov
Darren Drozdov also played for the Denver Broncos Twitter

"We wrestled on a lot of cards together. Such an awesome dude. Great personality and great wrestling talent. We always talked about football and fishing. Sending love, strength, mana and light to his family. RIP brother," the retired professional wrestler and American actor added.

"So sad to hear about the death of Darren Drozdov today. Talk about guy being dealt a bad hand. Godspeed," renowned wrestling journalist and publisher of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Dave Meltzer tweeted.

Drozdov, also known as 'Droz' among his fans, gained recognition in the world of wrestling when he joined WWE and made his debut in 1998.

Tragically, he suffered a severe neck injury during a SmackDown TV taping in October 1999. The incident occurred when D-Lo Brown unintentionally landed on Drozdov's neck while attempting a running powerbomb, resulting in Drozdov becoming paralyzed.

Darren Drozdov
Darren Drozdov Twitter

After the accident, Drozdov was immediately transported to the hospital and underwent surgery. Although he regained feeling in his upper body, unfortunately, he never regained control over his lower body. As a result, he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

He said he never blamed Brown for the incident, telling Jim Ross in 2014: "I have no hard feelings toward D'Lo because s**t happens and everyone who gets involved in athletics, including WWE, knows the risks that exist. It was an accident."

In 1998, Drozdov briefly joined the new Legion of Doom as a potential permanent replacement for Road Warrior Hawk, who was dealing with personal matters at the time. However, he later returned to performing as a singles wrestler for a period. Eventually, he formed a partnership with Matt Bloom, who wrestled under various ring names such as Albert, A-Train, and Tensai.

Drozdov acquired his second ring name, 'Puke,' for his appearance in the movie "Beyond The Mat." The film showed him throwing up on command in Vince McMahon's office.