Del Wilkes, aka The Patriot, Passes Away At Age 59
Del Wilkes, known to fans as The Patriot, passed away on Thursday at age 59.
News of Wilkes’ passing was confirmed by Allen Wright Adkins, who had permission from Wilkes’ family to make the announcement.
“At the request of his family, it’s with a devastated heart that I let you know Heaven gained one of the most special men I’ve ever had the honor to know today. Del Wilkes, I’ve loved you for 40 years and always will. Rest in peace, my dear friend…you’ll be missed more than you could ever know.”
According to an additional report from Post And Courier‘s Mike Mooneyham, Wilkes passed away due to a massive heart attack.
Wilkes was a former University of South Carolina football All-American football player that transitioned to the world of professional wrestling. He was best-known as The Patriot and worked for several major promotions including the American Wrestling Association, the Global Wrestling Federation, All-Japan Pro Wrestling, WCW, and WWE (then WWF).
Wilkes was a two-time WCW Tag Team Champion (with Marcus ‘Buff’ Bagwell as Stars and Stripes). He also won the AJPW All Asia Tag Team titles and also won the GWF’s North American and Television Championships. He later joined the WWF and had a high-profile feud with Bret Hart during his tenure, and ultimately retired from wrestling in 1997. His final match was a disqualification loss to Jim Neidhart on WWF Shotgun Saturday Night in October of that year.