The tragic death of 'Macho Man' Randy Savage

Was there anyone quite like Randy Savage? Remember that deep, raspy voice and the flourish of "Pomp and Circumstance" as his entry music? It seemed like no other wrestler could embody a flamboyant air quite like "Macho Man" Savage or anyone who could say his catchphrase, "Oooh yeah," with as much tenor. He had the incredible ability to lure fans in with his bombastic persona, outrageous outfits, and that memorable line that he would snap into a Slim Jim.

Sadly, his life was cut short. On May 20, 2011, Savage died unexpectedly in a car accident in Tampa, Florida, according to his WWE biography. After his passing, Time Magazine listed Savage as a Person of the Year and noted that he was only 58-years-old when he died.

As this time of year rolls around, we are commemorating the anniversary of Savage's passing. So here is everything we know about the tragic and unexpected passing of "Macho Man" Randy Savage.

Randy Savage jumps from baseball to wrestling

"Macho Man" Randy Savage was born Randy Mario Poffo in Columbus, Ohio, according to Time Magazine. He was clearly athletic from the beginning because he started out as a minor-league baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, per the outlet. However, Savage ended up following in the footsteps of his father, Angelo Poffo, who was also a wrestler and wrestling promoter, according to Time Magazine.

Savage joined the World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly called the World Wrestling Federation) in 1985, per Time. He had an incredible career in wrestling, as his WWE bio says that Savage won a "WWE Championships, four WCW World Championships and a 14-month reign as Intercontinental Champion."

Savage married his first wife, Elizabeth Hulette, called "Miss Elizabeth" in a special ceremony called "Match Made in Heaven" during SummerSlam 1991, according to his WWE bio. They divorced in 1992 and in 2003, she tragically died of a drug overdose, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In May 2010, Savage married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Lynn Payne, according to the Los Angeles Times. Together, they hid from the spotlight and enjoyed a private life in Florida. 

Randy Savage became a recluse as he grew older

While "Macho Man" Randy Savage knew how to fire up a crowd better than anyone during his WWE days, as he grew older, his priorities changed. According to Bleacher Report, Savage became something of a recluse in his older days. He let his beard grow out white and he kept a gun in his glove compartment. He moved to Largo, Florida with his wife, Barbara Payne, to be nearer to his mother, Judy.

According to the outlet, Savage "sequestered himself in a home surrounded by security fences and patrolled by guard dogs." But it wasn't because Savage didn't love people. It was because he got followed by people who would scream "Macho Man" if he went out in public.

In response, Savage hid away from the public eye but stayed extremely close to his family. Savage's mother said of him: "He worked on his house, he was busy with his animals, he married again, and he took us to our doctor's appointments—things he missed all those years when he was wrestling," per Bleacher Report

Tragically, this peaceful period of Savage's life ended far too soon.

Randy Savage's life cut too short

Randy Savage had just celebrated the one-year anniversary of his marriage to Barbara Payne and he was very vocal about how happy he felt in his new relationship. According to the Los Angeles Times, Savage had actually met Payne at Lido Beach many years before and said of his wedding: "I feel so fortunate that I had a second chance to marry my first love, here where it all began."

Sadly, on the morning of May 20, 2011, Savage was driving in his 2009 Jeep Wrangler on the highway with his wife when he said to her, "I think I'm going to pass out," according to Bleacher Report.

Savage then lost consciousness but Lynn was able to steer the vehicle to avoid other cars. They ended up hitting a tree but the "the impact was so slight that the airbags didn't activate," per the outlet. However, Savage was pronounced dead at Largo Medical Center.

Savage's cause of death was "due to a heart attack from ventricular fibrillation (VF or vfib for short), a type of severe arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)," according to Cageside Seats, noting that the car accident was not the cause. The outlet also notes Savage's history with steroids as a possible factor as well as the rampant substance abuse issues throughout the wrestling industry. While this is not confirmed, it's a tragic ending to a life cut far too short.