Wrestlers Who Sadly Died In 2024 So Far

This year has already seen its share of excellent wrestling, debuts, and stars jumping between companies. It has also seen its fair share of scandals thus far. But, some of the most tragic news to come out of 2024 are the deaths of so many wrestlers already. From legends like Ole Anderson to extremely young stars gone too soon like Japanese wrestler Asahi at just 21 years old, this year is already shaping up to be a tragic one in the professional wrestling sphere. We're remembering the performers who have died so far in 2024, all while still thinking of those we lost last year.



The "Macedonian Madman" Chris Markoff died at 85 years old on February 10 after suffering a stroke at the beginning of the year. Markoff, whose real name was Risto Zelevarov, wrestled from the 1960s through the early 1980s. His death was announced by long-time Minnesota announcer Mick Karch, who knew Markoff for almost 60 years.


Born in Yugoslavia and raised in Minnesota, Markoff began his career in the American Wrestling Association. He appeared in the ring under multiple names, including Chris Jelevarov, Chris Markov, Chris Zeleurov, and Harry Madison. He also wrestled for the World Wrestling Association, where he won tag team gold alongside Angelo Poffo. Markoff would also go on to appear in NWA, as well as the Japan Wrestling Association. In 1981, he joined Jim Crockett Promotions, where he tagged with Nikolai Volkoff in a team called "The Imperial Russians." Markoff won gold in any promotion he competed in during his career before retiring.


Harold Hoag, also known as Ice Train and M.I. Smooth in the ring, died at the age of 56 on January 23. His cause of death is currently not known and "Diamond" Dallas Page announced his death on social media. The real-life Harold Hogue, Sr. was best known for his work with WCW. He debuted as Ice Train in the company in July of 1993 on an episode of "WCW WorldWide."


Hoag became a member of The New Blood and was re-named M.I. Smooth in mid-2000. He was feuding with Kanyon at the time WWF bought WCW, and he retired from wrestling shortly after the purchase in 2001, leaving the feud unresolved. Hoag did come out of retirement 18 years later at 52 years old. His last match was on December 21, 2019 for European Wrestling Promotion, where he fought Dave Taylor, and the match ended in a no contest.


Joshi wrestler Asahi died at just 21 years old on February 1 following a reported car accident. She was best known for her time with Ice Ribbon and Actwres girl'Z (AWG). She made her wrestling debut for the former at just 14. Asahi's contract with Ice Ribbon ended in 2023 and she joined AWG on a "three to six month loan," but ended up becoming a full-time part of the promotion. AWG confirmed her death on social media, posting "We would like to inform you that Asahi, a member of our company, has passed away due to an unexpected accident." An AWG show on February 9 was rescheduled following Asahi's death. 


Tributes poured in for the wrestler after her death, with fans and colleagues calling her "a ray of sunshine." Asahi's last match was at a January 31 event for the promotion in a tag team victory. Asahi temporarily stepped away from wrestling to focus on school in 2020, but made her comeback the following year.


Florida wrestler Frankie "Francisco" Ciatso, a veteran on the independent scene, died at the age of 48 on January 21. His cause of death has not been released publicly. He wrestled for many promotions during his career, including NWA, TNA, NWA, and more. He was also known by many names, such as "Journeyman," "The Shotcaller," and "The Southeast Gangster." He was also the subject of a 2019 documentary titled "Journeyman" that depicted his career. Barry Rose, a Florida promoter, shared the news of Ciatso's death in a Facebook post, sending condolences to his family and friends.


Ciatso began his career in 1996. He debuted for NWA Florida in May of 2001. He also appeared in Deep South Wrestling and appeared for WWE on episodes of "WWE Heat" and even wrestled Tatanka in May 2006 on an episode of "WWE Velocity." He was most recently a trainer for the World Wrestling Network, a NWA-affiliated promotion.


One of the four founding members of the original Four Horsemen and one-half of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole Anderson, died at the age of 81 on February 27. His cause of death has not been revealed as of this writing, but it was reported in 2007 that he had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The real-life Alan Robert Rogowski founded the Horseman alongside Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard, and the group was managed by J.J. Dillon. Anderson also teamed with his kayfabe brother Gene Anderson.


Anderson notably worked as a booker for Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions following his wrestling career. He would go on to be part of WCW's executive team and booking committee, forever hating Vince McMahon and the then-WWF for his takeover of the territories. Anderson was fired from WCW when Eric Bischoff took over, and he retired from professional wrestling in 1996.


Mike Jones, better known to wrestling fans as WWE's Virgil, died peacefully at a hospital on the morning of February 28 at the age of 61. His death was announced on Facebook by referee Mark Charles III. Charles noted in a previous interview with SlamWrestling.net that Virgil had two strokes last year, as well as confirmed dementia as of 2022. He also had been battling stage II colon cancer. Prior to his health issues, Virgil was often seen at comic and wrestling conventions throughout the country.


Virgil began his wrestling career as Soul Train Jones in the Championship Wrestling Association in 1985, before moving on to the then-WWF in 1986. He was best known as the bodyguard of Ted DiBiase, but also made it on his own, winning DiBiase's Million Dollar Championship in the process. Virgil was also known to fans in WCW as Vincent, a member of the New World Order.