American wrestling star Michael “Virgil” Jones has died at the age of 61

  • Written by Katherine Armstrong
  • BBC News

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Michael Jones had various wrestling personas including Virgil, Vincent, and Soul Train Jones

US wrestling star Michael Jones – known by ring names including Virgil and Vincent – has died at the age of 61.

“Virgil passed away peacefully in hospital this morning [Wednesday]”, pro wrestling referee Mark Charles III — known professionally as The Count — announced on X, previously Twitter.

His death was also confirmed through posts on his social media accounts.

Jones is best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) during the 1980s and 1990s.

“There is a lot to say here, and I would love to share stories with you, but right now, it is a difficult day as our friend has passed away,” he said in a message posted on his Instagram account.

“Wishing him all the unlimited pasta in heaven. We love you, Mike.”

Jones, born in Pennsylvania, USA, began wrestling professionally in the mid-1980s under the name Soul Train Jones.

He debuted with the WWF, now known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), in 1986 and renamed himself Lucius Brown, which was later changed to Virgil.

This character as a bodyguard for Ted DiBiase, known as the Million Dollar Man, is what launched him to fame and lasted several years.

Jones left WWE in 1994 and worked for two years on the smaller independent circuit before joining the defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) under the character Vincent.

He briefly reinvented himself as Curly Bill for the West Texas Rednecks wrestling team before leaving WCW in 2000 when he retired due to injury.

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Jones worked for what is now known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for a number of years

Jones continued to appear independently as his various characters before his health began to decline.

In 2022, he revealed that he had dementia and colon cancer. He also suffered a number of strokes.

Online fundraising pages have been set up to help pay Jones' medical bills, and later to pay for expenses including clothing and toiletries.

Among those who paid tribute to him following news of his death on Wednesday was WWE Hall of Famer Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

“I am shocked and saddened to hear the news about Virgil,” he wrote on X.

“Rest in peace, my friend.”

Fellow WWE star Luke Gallows wrote: “Rest in peace Virgil, thanks for being such a great sport during our shenanigans and for the memories.”

“See you on the road good brother.”

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