ECW legend and controversial wrestling figure New Jack has died at the age of 58.
The grappler, whose real name was Jerome Young, suffered a heart attack on Friday, according to Bleacher Report.
New Jack elevated hardcore wrestling in the 90s with a series of blood-filled matches in ECW where he teamed up with Mustafa Saed and formed the brutal tag team they called The Gangstas.
WWE paid a long tribute to the North Carolina native, even though he never wrestled on Vince McMahon’s promotion, and expressed their condolences to his family and friends.
A statement on WWE.com read: “WWE is saddened to learn that Jerome Young, known in ECW as New Jack, passed away today at the age of 58.
“With his fierce, competitive style, New Jack was well-known for pushing the limits of hardcore wrestling to their furthest extremes.
“Young broke into the sports-entertainment circuit with the Memphis-based United States Wrestling Association in 1992. Upon arrival in the Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion, New Jack teamed with Mustafa Saed to form The Gangstas tag team.
“The Gangstas shook up ECW with their debut in 1995, immediately battling Public Enemy in one of the promotion’s most storied rivalries. New Jack teamed with Mustafa and Eliminator John Kronus for multiple ECW Tag Team Title reigns.
“With a trash can filled with makeshift weapons and his signature staple gun in tow, New Jack became one of ECW’s most popular antiheroes and a sports-entertainment firebrand who courted controversy and chaos with equal measure.”
New Jack’s wrestling career is filled with controversy, as depicted in a recent documentary by VICE’s Dark Side of the Ring series.
The hardcore wrestler was charged with assault and battery for blading aspiring 17-year-old wrestler Erich Kulas, who performed under the name of Mass Transit and lied about being an adult, in 1996 before being found not guilty.
In 2003 he became the subject of scathing criticism when he bludgeoned 72-year-old wrestler Gypsy Joe, who wouldn’t sell Jack’s offence in the ring.
But the most shocking moment took place a year later when he stabbed William Jason Lane, who wrestled as Hunter Red, nine times in the ring after his opponent reportedly landed a series of legitimate punches to his head.
New Jack was charged with aggravated battery and faced up to 15 years in prison but the charges were ultimately dropped.