By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Del Wilkes died on Thursday at age 59. Mike Mooneyham of the Charleston Post and Courier reports that Wilkes died of a massive heart attack.
Powell’s POV: Wilkes was an All American football player for the South Carolina Gamecocks in college. He made the transition to pro wrestling and worked under his own name and later as The Trooper in the AWA. The Patriot gimmick was born in the Global Wrestling Federation, and Wilkes brought the gimmick to WWE. He also worked for All Japan Pro Wrestling and WCW. Wilkes retired following a torn triceps injury in 1998. He developed a serious painkiller addiction that led to a number of arrests. He eventually got clean and went on to work as a car salesman in Columbia, South Carolina. My condolences to Del’s family, friends, and fans.