WWE superstar Eduardo Gory Guerrero, better known on the canvas as "Eddie" Guerrero, was found dead Sunday morning in his hotel room in Minneapolis.
Guerrero, a former WWE champion and a regular mainstay of UPN's Friday Night Smackdown, was in town to compete in a championship match for a taped WWE Supershow, slated to air later this week. Guerrero has had a presence in the game world as well, with his likeness appearing in both WCW- and WWE-licensed games from publisher THQ since the late 1990s. He was 38.
After failing to respond to a 7:00 a.m. wake-up call, hotel security at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center sought the help of Guerrero's nephew and fellow WWE performer, Chavo Guerrero Jr., in trying to establish contact. Following a series of unsuccessful phone calls and knocks on his hotel room door, they finally forced their way into the room, only to find Eddie's body on the floor.
Upon initial investigation, police stated that there were no apparent signs of foul play. An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of Guerrero's death.
In the past, it had been well documented that Guerrero fought numerous battles with alcoholism and drug abuse, both of which nearly cost him his career and his family. However, in a recent press conference held by WWE chairman Vince McMahon, Chavo told reporters that Guerrero found faith in Christianity, and he has been sober for the past four years.
"This is a huge loss to the WWE," a somber McMahon said. "Eddie Guerrero was one of the stellar performers in the history of our business." He added that "he will be so missed by WWE fans. There is only one Eddie Guerrero."
When asked whether or not anything will be done to commemorate Guerrero's life and legacy, McMahon stated that the Sunday night tapings for its two flagship television programs, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, will be altered in format and turned into tribute shows to pay honor to the wrestler.
"Eddie Guerrero, being the consummate performer that he is would want the show to go on. You are going to see these human beings, really not so much as performers, but as friends of Eddie Guerrero who want to say something about and to Eddie," McMahon said.
Chavo added, "If it's a tribute show to Eddie, then I'd want to be a part of it and I know he'd want me to be a part of it also."
Whether it was by his fans around the world, or by his colleagues in the locker room, Eddie Guerrero was equally loved and respected for his infectious personality and passion for the business. Despite his occasional bouts as an onscreen "heel" (villain) on WWE programming, crowd chants of "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie," were constantly heard in almost every town he went to.
While Guerrero's unexpected passing is a loss to the world of sports entertainment, his legacy continues in many forms. Fans can continue to celebrate Guerrero's storied career by watching his nephew, Chavo, on TV, and they can show their support by wearing Guerrero's merchandise to live events. They can even play as Guerrero himself in WWE's long line of video games--the latest of which, WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006, will be released later this week.
Eduardo "Eddie" Guerrero is survived by his wife Vickie and three daughters: Shaul, 14, Sherilyn, 9, and Kaylie Marie, 3.