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WWE legend Virgil dead at 61

WWE great Virgil has died at the age of 61. The pro wrestling legend revealed in 2022 that he was battling a number of health ailments.

Michael Jones, the pro wrestling superstar known as Virgil and Soul Train Jones during his time in the squared circle, has died, WWE announced Wednesday. He was 61.

The cause of death was not immediately revealed.

Mark Charles III, a referee for several smaller pro wrestling promotions, revealed Virgil’s death on Facebook.

"My dear friends, it is with great sorrow that I bring news from the Jones family of the passing of our beloved Michael Jones, whom we know and loved as Virgil, Vincent, Soul Train Jones and more," Charles wrote. "Virgil passed peacefully at the hospital this morning and I ask that you pray for him and for his family.

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"May his memory be eternal"

WWE later confirmed his death.

"WWE is saddened to learn that Michael Jones, known to WWE fans as Virgil, has passed away," the company announced. "WWE extends its condolences to Jones’ family, friends and fans."

Virgil got his start with Memphis-based Championship Wrestling and later won championships in the American Wrestling Association.

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He moved to the World Wrestling Federation (now known as WWE) and became the bodyguard for "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. He and DiBiase were involved in pivotal moments with the company and had a hand in Andre the Giant beating Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship after nearly five years. Virgil was in the corner of DiBiase and Andre in a tag-team match against Hogan and Randy Savage.

Virgil became a fan favorite as part of a storyline with DiBiase after the 1991 Royal Rumble. He defeated DiBiase at WrestleMania VI for the Million Dollar Championship. The crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena erupted for Virgil’s victory.

He moved on from the WWF and, by 1996, found himself with the rival World Championship Wrestling as Vincent. He became a security guard for the dominant New World Order faction, which helped escalate the ratings wars between WWF and WCW at the time.

He retired from full-time wrestling in 2000 but made appearances for other companies, including WWE, sparingly. He appeared in All Elite Wrestling as Soul Train Jones in 2019 and 2020.

After his wrestling career, Virgil became a mainstay at wrestling conventions, signing autographs for fans. 

He revealed in 2022 he battled a number of health issues, including two strokes and a dementia diagnosis. He also tweeted that year that he was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer.

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