WWE.com has learned that “Dr. Death,” Steve Williams, passed away at the age of 49 after battling throat cancer for many years.
An All-American football player and wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, Williams went on to wrestle in UWF, NWA, ECW, All Japan and WCW with Terry Gordy before joining WWE in 1998.
In 2007, with his cancer in remission, William penned an inspirational book entitled How Dr. Death became Dr. Life. “I’ve been a fighter all my life,” Williams told WWE.com at the time. “I never gave up.”
His trying journey infused in Williams a gentle perspective and a deeply spiritual commitment. “I kept praying to God, and He opened the door,” said Williams, who devoted his time to working with a ministry group and at-risk kids. “I use the ring as an altar call, and I do my testimony from the ring and ask the kids if they want to give their lives to Christ, and then we pray together.”
During his battle, Williams strengthened his bond with the man who signed him onto Mid South Wrestling when he was still a student at OU, WWE’s own Jim “J.R.” Ross.
“Steve Williams, mentally and physically, is the toughest athlete I’ve ever seen in any walk of life or any sport, including the NFL,” Ross told WWE.com in 2007. “[And] he has a heart of gold.”
WWE.com would like to offer Williams’ family and loved ones our deepest condolences.