The professional wrestling community is in mourning following the death of Jon Huber – better known as Brodie Lee or Luke Harper – who passed away following a “non-Covid related lung issue” at the age of 41, his family have said.
The former WWE star, who had been performing for upstart league All-Elite Wrestling (AEW) since March, succumbed to the undisclosed lung issue at the Mayo Clinic in Florida on December 26, around two months after he had taken a leave of absence from the promotion due to the medical issue.
Huber was best known for his seven-year stint as an active member of the WWE roster. His character, in this case Luke Harper, aligned with another rising star of the industry, Bray Wyatt, for one of the more critically praised storylines in recent WWE history, in which Huber was a central part of the sinister ‘Wyatt Family’.
His latest character, Brodie Lee, was introduced as the leader of a group called ‘The Dark Order’. In August, he became the company’s second-ever TNT champion when he defeated Cody. The final match of his career would also come against Cody on October 7.
Bray Wyatt on the passing of Jon Huber. #RIPBrodieLeepic.twitter.com/9tS4mEenIJ
My heart is breaking along with everyone else! I was so excited to him him appear as the leader of the dark order and then the feud with Cody was just magic! Such an amazing gentle giant off camera and my thoughts and prayers are with his wife and his children! #RipBrodieLeehttps://t.co/gkgW43vmEj
In 15 years, I learned a lot from him. But the most important was that it’s possible to make pro wrestling a career and also make being a husband and a dad the most important career. My heart breaks for his wonderful wife and truly charming kids. Just like him. #RIPBrodieLeehttps://t.co/QAJySAZsNJ
But in contrast to his on-screen persona, Huber was known to be one of the wrestling industry’s most beloved characters – as evidenced by the floods of tributes which have poured in in the hours since his death was announced.
“My best friend died today,” wrote his wife of 12 years, Amanda Huber, on Instagram.
“I never wanted to write out those words. My heart is broken. The world saw him as the amazing Brodie Lee (fka Luke Harper) but he was my best friend, my husband, and the greatest father you would ever meet.
“No words can express the love I feel or how broken I am right now.”
This sentiment was echoed by swathes of figures within the pro wrestling community, almost all of them noting Huber’s reputation as one of wrestling’s good guys.
“The All Elite Wrestling family is heartbroken,” the company said in a statement.
“In an industry filled with good people, Jon Huber was exceptionally respected and beloved in every way — a fierce and captivating talent, a thoughtful mentor and simply a very kind soul that starkly contradicted his persona as Mr Brodie Lee.”
Several other major figures within pro wrestling have also reacted to the news. “I don’t have the words,” Randy Orton wrote on Twitter. “May God send his beautiful family as much strength as possible.”
“Just two years ago, my son Hughie dressed up as Luke Harper for Halloween,” wrote wrestling legend Mick Foley.
“He was a great worker and a doting father. A huge loss for everyone who loves wrestling.”
Huber is survived by his wife and their two young sons.