Former WWE wrestler and NFL player Darren Drozdov has died at the age of 54, WWE announced in a tribute graphic shown during Friday's (June 30) taping of SmackDown in London.
Drozdov, who wrestled under the names 'Puke' and 'Droz,' appeared on WWE television from 1998 to 1999, but had his career cut short after he accidentally landed on his neck during a taped match at Nassau Coliseum, which resulted in him losing the ability to walk for the remainder of his life. The former University of Maryland standout was also featured in the wrestling documentary Beyond The Mat speaking with WWE chairman Vince McMahon about his upcoming 'Puke' gimmick, which was inspired by his ability to regurgitate on command, having previously vomited during a live Monday Night Football game broadcast.
Drozdov was acquired by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 1993 and spent his entire three-year NFL career with the franchise before one season with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes in 1996 and later pursuit of a wrestling career.
"We are sad to share our beloved Darren passed away this morning of natural causes," Drozdov's family said in a statement shared by ESPN NFL senior insider Adam Schefter on Friday. "There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now."