Over the past decades, WWE has produced several stars like The Undertaker, The Rock, Big Show, Kane, Hulk Hogan, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, among many others.

They are fans’ heroes, larger than life, mighty, seemingly invincible giants.

They mark their names in the public’s memory and make a lot of money doing that.

But the wrestling business almost always involves unfriendly schedules to perform physically-demanding spectacles on stage.

In the past, some wrestlers were known to have relied on painkillers or other drugs to cope with exhaustion and injuries.

Unexpected deaths from drug overdose were not exactly uncommon. But not all the unexpected deathunforeseenrestlers involved drugs.

In the case of Andre the Giant, the cause of death was congestive heart failure. He died in Paris on January 28, 1993, at the age of 46. It was a premature death, but not entirely unexpected.

Andre was born with acromegaly, a syndrome that made him grow beyond average size for a man of his age. For several years before his death, Andre had already been in decline associated with his constant growth.


9 /9 Immense Stature

His exact height and weight at the time of his death remain unclear as few sources suggest different accounts.

Some say he stood 7’2″ and weighed over 550lbs, while others believed he was no taller than 7 feet and no more than 380 pounds.

But by the time Andre was 17-years-old, he stood 6’7″, taller than most boys his age.

When Andre was only starting to make a name for himself in the ring in France as “Monster Eiffel Tower,” one French-Canadian wrestler named Edouard Carpentier was so impressed that he decided to bring Andre’s raw talent to North America.

8 /9 The 8th Wonder Of The World

In Canada, he wrestled under the name Jean Ferre for the Grand Prix Promotion.

His popularity soon exceeded the expectations, growing from an undercard to a headline name. Larger than anybody in the ring, fans called him “The 8th Wonder of the World,” inspired by the King Kong film.

The nickname stuck with Andre throughout the rest of his professional wrestling career.

He already had established a good reputation in Montreal when in 1972, Vince McMahon, Sr. (father of the current CEO of WWE) signed him for the WWWF and changed his name to “Andre the Giant.”

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7 /9 Steady Climb

His tenure in WWWF (later renamed WWF) was a relatively quick, steady climb for Andre.

By 1987, his match with Hulk Hogan drew a record of 90,000 fans to the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit.

Andre participated at six WrestleMania events throughout his career, facing some of the toughest wrestlers of his generation, such as Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Big John Studd.

Until his victory over Hogan in 1988, Andre was often regarded as Uncrowned Champion. That said, he held the title for only 1 minute 48 seconds before handing it over to “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.

6 /9 From Wrestling To Acting

His success in the ring-opened the door to Hollywood.

He was not much of an actor like his more modern counterparts, such as John Cena or Dwayne Johnson, but Andre had parts in some of the most memorable titles, for example, The Princess Bride and Conan the Destroyer. Andre made his acting debut in 1975 in a two-part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, playing as “Big Foot.”

He also was in Trading MomMicki & Maude, and the music video for The Goonies’ R’ Good Enough by American singer Cyndi Lauper.


5 /9 Legs Of Average Size

At age 12, Andre reportedly stood 6’3″ and weighed 200 pounds. By the time he was 14, he had left home and worked in a hay baler factory, carnival, and a moving company.

Regardless of his actual size, Andre’s body measurement kept on going larger as he grew up, at least from the knees up. He had a massive torso, big head, and a wrist circumference in size similar to that of a gorilla.

His legs, however, were surprisingly average for a man of his height and weight. In many of his wrestling photos, his legs look disproportionately small.


4 /9 Affinity For Castaways

According to Gino Brito, a former professional wrestler and promoter in Montreal, Andre felt a rather unconventional affinity for society’s castaways, specifically prostitutes.

When the two were standing outside Montreal’s Ritz-Carlton, Brito recalled how Andre called an overweight streetwalker and gave her $700.

Andre thought some of those girls looked after him in a way, giving him friendship and life advice.

During a visit to Paris, Paul “The Butcher” Vachon remembered that the business girls liked having Andre around because he made them feel safe, a reasonable assessment considering the giant’s stature.


3 /9 Inevitable Death

Over the years, yet sooner than everybody wanted, the acromegaly began to inflict severe damage.

The immense size became too much of a burden for his own heart to bear. In a Paris hotel not long after attending his father’s funeral, he was found dead in his room on January 28, 1993.

To his colleagues in the wrestling world, Andre’s premature death was not unexpected.

Vachon said Andre liked going to Chinatown because the place was always open and that he never wanted to go to sleep. Some theorized Andre was in constant fear of dying alone in his sleep.

2 /9 Big Coffin

Andre the Giant never had the chance to explain why he had asked for his body to be cremated within 48 hours of his death. No matter the reasons, the funeral was done in the United States.

This meant his body had to be first transported into the country. The corpse being cut into pieces because of the cargo size limitation is most likely based on mere fiction.

When the coffin arrived, it just wouldn’t fit into a standard hearse, so a more extensive vehicle was called to carry it to the crematorium. His ashes weighed 17 pounds.


1 /9 The Gentle Giant

The ashes were spread over his North Carolina ranch on horseback. Now 28 years after his death, stories of the life of Andre the Giant are filled with a lot of exaggerations.

Folklore has Andre passing out in a hotel lobby after drinking 119 beers. Rumors say he used to eat 7,000 calories a day and take 72 double-shot vodka without ever moving from his seat, and so on.

He might be a terrifying figure in the ring and anywhere else for that matter, but to all who knew him personally outside the pro-wrestling world, Andre was a gentle giant.

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