Pro wrestling great Steve “Dr. Death” Williams died on Tuesday night at age 49.
He has been battling cancer in recent years. Williams held numerous wrestling titles in North America and Japan throughout his career. He achieved All-American status as a football player at the University of Oklahoma.
More to follow on this end of an era the death of Legend, as “Doctor Death”, has died….
Williams graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 after a football career that saw him named an All-American. He also competed as an amateur wrestler losing in the finals of an NCAA tournament to future Olympic medalist Bruce Baumgartner.
Already interested in professional wrestling, Williams had a ready-made nickname which dated back to an incident in junior high where he had to wrestle in a hockey goalie’s mask and was jokingly labeled “Dr. Death” by one of his school’s coaches.
*****I do believe that Steve Williams was also a member of the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL…..*****
from October 4, 2007 www.tulsaworld.com:
It was 25 years ago that former Oklahoma offensive lineman “Dr. Death” Steve Williams participated in his last OU-Texas football game.
Still passionate about his alma mater, Williams will cheer for the Sooners when the Red River Rivalry is renewed Saturday, although he won’t cheer exactly the same way as everyone else.
Williams does his cheering without benefit of vocal cords. In order to speak, Williams has to place a thumb over the permanent hole in his throat. With prosthetic help, he utters words made of gravel.
Doctors created the hole — it’s called a stoma — in conjunction with surgery to remove cancerous tissue from Williams’ throat.
Initially, Williams tried to get rid of a golf-ball sized tumor in his neck by subjecting himself to grueling (is there another kind?) radiation and chemo treatments. His weight dropped from 295 to 206 pounds and chunks of the tumor were expelled through his nose and mouth when he coughed.
“I thought I beat it,” he said.
“But the cancer was so aggressive it went down to the vocal cords and they literally had to cut my head off and take everything out.”
Williams exaggerated only slightly when he said surgeons cut his head off. Surgeons carved him from ear to ear. They did it again three months later because his radiation-weakened skin busted open and caused his stoma to spring a leak.
Recalling the leak, Williams said he woke up in a pool of blood. He said he probably should have bled to death while driving 4 -1/2 hours from his home in Shreveport, La., to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Doctors at M.D. Anderson took 2-1/2 feet of muscle out of Williams’ thigh and plugged up the hole.