Fans and fellow wrestlers are remembering the legendary Owen Hart on the 22nd anniversary of his tragic death. A member of the famous Hart wrestling family based out of Calgary, Owen was one of the most talented performers in the business during the 1980s and 90s. It all came to a sudden and horrific end on May 23, 1999, when the 34-year-old fell to his death in the ring during a stunt gone wrong at a WWE pay-per-view event. Many consider the tragedy to be among pro wrestling's darkest moments, leaving an emotional impact that's still felt to this day.
Posting a classic clip from his early days in a WWE (then WWF) match against Owen, WWE and AEW star Matt Hardy writes: "Saw Owen Hart trending today as it's the 22nd anniversary of his tragic passing. Owen was so kind to me as an extra, which was rare then. Huge respect to a great man & performer, who was ahead of his time in both capacities as it relates to this biz."
Marc Mero, aka Johnny B. Badd and "Marvelous" Marc Mero, posted an image from behind the scenes at a WWF event in the mid 1990s. Along with Mero and Owen, the photo also includes "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H, Goldust, Terri "Marlena" Runnels, and Jim Ross. In the caption, Mero writes, "A terrible tragedy occurred on this date May 23, 1999. We not only lost a great wrestler but a great man. Owen Hart died in a terrible fall in Kansas City."
Owen's tragic story was previously featured in a two-parter on the documentary series Dark Side of the Ring. The official account for the Vice TV series posted a video of one of Owen's pals telling a funny memory of the wrestler and wrote: "Owen Hart is forever. His legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of his family, friends and fans. D'Lo Brown recalls an unforgettable rib that captures his one-of-a-kind humor, and kindness."
"22 years ago May 23 1999 WWE wrestling star Owen Hart tragically died in Live TV event at Kansas Arena," posted journalist Gary Bobrovitz, who was a personal friend of Owen's. "We lifted weights at BJ's Gym in Calgary. Our kids played together downstairs while their Dads pumped iron upstairs. He was a sweet humble guy. RIP My Friend."
Many of Owen's fans are paying tribute as well. One wrestling fan wrote on Twitter, "Long live Owen Hart!! Gone but will never be forgotten, the first bad guy in pro wrestling that I liked and enjoyed. His style was heavily influential on the following generation that we also see today RIP Owen."
"22 years ago, we lost a Legend, one of the greatest of all time," says someone else. "But his legacy remains alive inside our hearts for eternity. RIP Owen Hart, the true King of Harts!"
A legendary prankster behind the scenes and a phenomenal talent in the ring, everyone who knew Owen will always remember him. It's hard not to imagine what else we may have seen from Owen had he not left us in 1999, but his legacy still shines more brightly than ever after more than two decades. Rest in peace, Owen Hart. You can see many more tribute posts on Twitter.