Michael Jones, WWE Star Virgil, Dead At 61

WWE star Michael Jones, aka Virgil, has died at 61. Wrestling referee Mark Charles III made the sad announcement on February 28. "Virgil passed peacefully at the hospital this morning, and I ask that you pray for him and for his family. May his memory be eternal!" he shared in a Facebook post.

Jones' health had deteriorated over the past years. In 2022, he announced in a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter (via Wrestling Inc), that he had suffered two strokes and been diagnosed with dementia.

The athlete made his debut as "Soul Train" Jones in 1987. He became one of the WWE's top wrestlers before switching to the WCW in 1996. "Whether he was loved or hated, Virgil was one of the most respected Superstars of the 1980s and 1990s, as he was always willing to put himself into battle to protect his interests," his WWE bio reads.

Fans pay tribute to the King of Beef

Michael "Virgil" Jones was famed for his beef as much as his WWE throwing. Per Wrestle Zone, Virgil went at it with Shaun "LA Knight" Ricker in June 2021. "First Stone Cold steals my haircut, now this dude? Is it just me, or am I seeing this guy rip off my exact pose when I legitimized this title?" He ranted. "May have to show up this week and put my foot in yo a**!"

His love of slamming down out of the ring made Virgil a polarizing figure. Still, there was an outpouring of love following news of his death. "Never got to know Virgil, but I know how much he meant to this business. My thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved him," one fan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. "R.I.P. to Virgil, who was honestly a legendary character in the pro wrestling world," another wrote. "I was lucky enough to have a full day with Virgi, which included lunch and filming an unforgettable episode of 'CSR' with him."

After decades in the spotlight, Virgil's contribution to the wrestling world was finally recognized in March 2023. "With pride & satisfaction, I am finally excited 2 announce that I have been inducted to the Hall of Fame," he posted on X. Still, he managed to slip in yet more beef. "Thanks to the Miz for stealing my gimmick and to Damage Ctrl for me being their hero. Meat sauce goes Hollywood," Virgil continued.