We are sad to report that former WWE star “The Patriot” Del Wilkes has passed away after suffering a heart attack at the age of 59. The news of his passing was first announced via Facebook by his mother.
The former University of South Carolina football All-American got his start in professional wrestling in 1988 after training at a school owned by The Fabulous Moolah.
He worked as The Trooper in the final years of the AWA and he later became the masked Patriot in the Global Wrestling Federation.
Wilkes wrestled in All Japan Pro Wrestling from 1992 until 1994 before signing with World Championship Wrestling. He went back to All Japan and then wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation where he got an immediate push as one of the top babyfaces. Injuries and personal issues derailed his run and he was gone by late 1997.
In later years, Wilkes talked about his steroid and cocaine usage during his wrestling career as a cautionary tale for young people getting into the business.
We send deepest condolences to Wilkes’ friends and family.