How Did Terry Funk Die? WWE Hall of Famer Whose Career Spanned Five Decades Dies Aged 79

Funk's father, Dory Funk Sr., played a pivotal role as the owner of the 'Amarillo territory,' introducing both of his sons, Terry and Dory Jr., to the world of wrestling.

Wrestling legend Terry Funk, whose career spanned more than five decades, has died. He was 79. Funk enjoyed a lengthy career that spanned from 1965 to 2017, with a 14-month reign as the NWA world champion., starting in 1975. During that time, the NWA title served as the unified national championship across various regional territories.

Funk, often acknowledged as the pioneer of hardcore wrestling, marked his wrestling debut in 1965 and then made an official return almost 53 years later. His death was confirmed by Mick Foley, a close friend who shared a history of alternating between being both an in-ring rival and partner with Funk.

Death of a Legend

Terry Funk
Terry Funk Twitter

"I just talked to Terry's daughter, Brandee, who gave me the awful news," Foley tweeted on Wednesday.

"He was my mentor, my idol, one of the closest friends. He was the greatest wrestler I ever saw.If you get the chance, look up a Terry Funk match or a Terry Funk promo, and give thanks..."

Fellow wrestling star Ric Flair was the first to announce Funk's death. He wrote on social media: "In My Entire Life, I've Never Met A Guy Who Worked Harder.

"Terry Funk Was A Great Wrestler, Entertainer, Unbelievably Fearless, And A Great Friend!

"Rest In Peace My Friend Terry Funk Knowing That No One Will Ever Replace You In The World Of Professional Wrestling!"

Terry Funk
Terry Funk Twitter

Funk was preceded in death by his wife, Vicky Ann, who died on March 29, 2019. They were married for 53 years and had two daughters together.

In June 2021, wrestling icon Don Muraco revealed that Funk had received a dementia diagnosis. Funk recently celebrated his 79th birthday, and he remarkably remained involved in wrestling until the age of 73. He participated in his final matches in September 2017.

Star in His Own Right

Funk had a remarkable career inside the wrestling ring, winning several titles. Notably, he won titles such as the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship, the ECW World Heavyweight Championship twice, and the WWE Tag Team Championships while partnering with Cactus Jack, also known as Foley.

Terry Funk
Terry Funk Twitter

His accomplishments led to his well-deserved induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

WWE shared its own tribute to Funk on social media, writing on X: "WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk has passed away at the age of 79.

'WWE extends its condolences to Funk's family, friends and fans."

Wrestling legend Dustin Rhodes also put: "Just heard that Terry Funk is gone. Truly heartbroken over this.

"He has known me since I was a child. He was an incredible mentor and friend. Love him so much and sad to see him go. I know he is no longer in pain and has probably rekindled his war with Pops in heaven. Rest easy TF.


Terry Funk
Terry Funk Twitter

Funk's father, Dory Funk Sr., played a pivotal role as the owner of the 'Amarillo territory,' introducing both of his sons, Terry and Dory Jr., to the world of wrestling. The Funk Brothers went on to establish a legacy by securing numerous victories in tag team competitions across various affiliates of the National Wrestling Alliance.

They also participated in All Japan Pro Wrestling's annual tag team event, the World's Strongest Tag Determination League, clinching victory three times in 1977, 1979, and 1982.

Later, the Funks went their separate ways and found success in singles competition, achieving a remarkable feat as the first and only pair of brothers to each hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Terry Funk initially stepped away from professional wrestling in 1983, opting to venture into the world of acting and the Silver Screen.

Funk ventured into acting with the 1987 film "Over the Top" and the 1989 Patrick Swayze classic "Roadhouse."

However, he returned to the wrestling ring in 1989 for a heated showdown with then-NWA World Champion Ric Flair.

Terry Funk
Terry Funk Twitter

After another departure from the NWA, Funk spent time wrestling in various smaller wrestling promotions in the United States. He eventually made his way back to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1994, rekindling his feud with Dusty Rhodes and his son, Dustin.

In August 1995, at the age of 51 with three decades of experience in the industry, Funk participated in the infamous King of the Death Match Tournament in Kawasaki, Japan. He reached the finals but was ultimately defeated by Mick Foley.

His wrestling career continued for another two decades, with his final matches taking place on September 22 and 23, 2017. In these matches, he teamed up with the Rock 'n' Roll Express to face Jerry Lawler, Brian Christopher, and Doug Gilbert.