WWE announced the following…
WWE is saddened to learn that Darren Drozdov passed away on Friday, June 30, at age 54.
An imposing force in the ring, Darren Drozdov became a notable figure in WWE, known to fans as both Puke and Droz during his time as an in-ring competitor.
Drozdov was a gifted athlete before coming to WWE, playing football at the University of Maryland before stints in the NFL with the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and Denver Broncos.
Drozdov captivated audiences in the late 1990s with his time spent in the Legion of Doom teaming with Animal and his Droz’s World vignettes.
WWE extends its condolences to Darren Drozdov’s family, friends and fans.
STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY OF DARREN DROZDOV
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.
Darren, affectionately known as “Droz,” was involved in a tragic ring accident while wrestling for the WWE in 1999 that rendered him a quadriplegic. Nevertheless, 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. 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.”
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. 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.
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.
He was a devoted son, brother, and friend who had always put others first, especially his family. He was kind, generous and was always there for his people. He was our guiding light who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder. His smile was healing. His warmth, love, and laughter were infectious. We could always turn to him for wisdom and solace and his absence feels like a giant hole in our family and our hearts. Everyone who knew Darren was a better person because of it. He taught everyone so much about how to look at life: how to put things in perspective, how to overcome adversity, and how to show compassion for others. He would not want anyone to be sad at this moment and would want to this to be a celebration of his life, to be remembered for all the great things that he accomplished, the fun, the laughter, the great memories he shared with everyone.
ProWrestlingStories.com documented the accident and the aftermath. The site also included a quote from a FoxSports.com interview with Droz regarding the incident with D’Lo Brown…
“I have no hard feelings toward D’Lo because shit happens and everyone who gets involved in athletics, including WWE, knows the risks that exist. It was an accident.”