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John Huber, known in AEW as Brodie Lee, has died. He was only 41 years old. He is survived by his wife Amanda and his two young children, Brodie and Nolan. His wife Amanda Huber confirmed his death in a post on Instagram earlier today. AEW also confirmed his death on Twitter. Amanda Huber’s post noted that he died due to a non-COVID-19-related lung issue.
Lee’s last match for AEW took place on Oct. 7, 2020 when he had a Dog Collar match against Cody Rhodes for the TNT Championship.
Lee, who was from Rochester, New York, began wrestling in 2003. He gained notoriety wrestling on the independent scene for Chikara and DGUSA. He attracted the most attention for his work in DGUSA where he debuted in 2010. He was a big man that worked well with with just about any kind of opponent and excelled at working multi-man tag matches. His friends described him as a great man both inside and outside the ring that loved his family. Wrestlers I spoke to over the years would note how much he loved his family and every person talked to about Lee had something good to say about him.
Lee signed a contract with WWE in 2012 adopting the moniker Luke Harper and reported to FCW. He eventually went to NXT where the Wyatt Family was formed before they were brought to the main roster as an act with Bray Wyatt and Eric Rowan. The Wyatt Family was brought up to the main roster in 2013 and they quickly began feuding with The Shield where Harper shined as the glue that held the matches together with his ability to base and put together crazy spots reminiscent of what he had shown in his tag matches on the independent scene in DGUSA and Chikara.
After The Wyatt Family was broken up, Harper had some success as a singles wrestler in WWE capturing the IC Championship in 2014 before losing it to Dolph Ziggler after holding the title for a month. WWE tried to repackage Harper and Rowan as The Bludgeon Brothers, but the act never took off.
Harper publicly asked for his release in April of 2019, but WWE did not release him until the end of the year.
Huber debuted for AEW on March 18, 2020 as the surprise leader of The Dark Order faction. Previous to his debut, The Dark Order had teased that “The Exalted One” was coming to lead them. Lee immediately gave the faction credibility after it had struggled to get off the ground despite the group getting a large push as AEW was getting ready to launch Dynamite on TNT in October of 2019 and after once Dynamite began airing weekly.
Lee was given the first big singles push of his career in AEW. He was pushed into a feud with Moxley after the COVID-19 outbreak forced the company to change their plans for the title picture. Lee wrestled Moxley at the “Double or Nothing” PPV in May. He also beat Cody Rhodes in a surprisingly one-sided match at Dynamite in August to capture the TNT Championship.
Amanda Huber wrote about Lee’s passing on her Instagram page today:
My best friend died today.
I never wanted to write out those words. My heart is broken. The world saw him as the amazing @brodielee(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. He passed surrounded by love ones after a hard fought battle with a non Covid related lung issue. The @mayoclinic is literally the best team of doctors and nurses in the world who surrounded me with constant love.
On top of that, I can’t express my love and admiration for the way @allelitewrestling has treated not only my husband but myself and my kids. @margaret.stalvey@meghalegalgirl10@americannightmarecody@thebrandirhodes @nickjacksonyb@mattjackson13 @kennyomegamanx@tonyrkhan and the rest of the team at AEW have helped keep me standing and pick up all the broken pieces.
I’ve been surrounded by so much love and incredible people I can’t tag them all but they know who they are and I don’t think they will ever know how thankful I am for them.
WWE also issued a statement on Huber’s passing:
WWE is saddened to learn that Jon Huber, known to WWE fans as Luke Harper, passed away today at age 41.
Known as both Luke Harper and Brodie Lee in the ring, Huber found success in every stop of his sports-entertainment career, as his soft spoken yet imposing presence helped him create countless awe-inspiring moments in the ring. After a highly decorated run on the independent circuit, Harper debuted in NXT as a menacing enforcer for The Wyatt Family. Harper had a dominant tag team run with Rowan that would lay the groundwork for future championship success.
As a member of The Wyatt Family, he engaged in heated rivalries with the likes of Kane, Daniel Bryan, The Shield, John Cena and The Usos. After being set free from the family, Harper authored an impressive singles run that culminated with him defeating Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship. Harper & Rowan later comprised The Bludgeon Brothers and embarked on a path of destruction that was highlighted by a SmackDown Tag Team Title victory in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania 34.
WWE extends its condolences to Huber’s family, friends and fans.
Huber, who had the reputation of being an incredible person outside of the ring and a family man that loved his family more than anything, has received an outpouring of tribute posts on Twitter from his colleagues, some of which can be seen below:
I hope you all get to know someone like Jon. He was the biggest family man & someone who made me laugh daily. I’ll miss him every day for the rest of my life. I love you, Brodie, and I thank you so much for loving me.
— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) December 27, 2020
Every kind word you read about him is true.
Every person that says they loved him is genuine.
Everyone of us hurts.
And everyone of us is better for having had Jon in our lives.#RIPBrodieLee
— I|I essential character I|I (@therealec3) December 27, 2020
It’s Saturday. You know what that means. #RIPBrodieLee
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) December 27, 2020
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.
— Bryce Remsburg (@dabryceisright) December 27, 2020
All I can picture is everytime you saw me you’d smile shake your head and go “Larry fucking Dallas”
I loved you big man.
— Larry Dallas (@LarryDallasDG) December 27, 2020
He was there when I won my first ever title in Japan along with so many other moments we got to have overseas. We spent a lot of time there with @WWEApollo, Rich Swann and @BASTARDPAC. You don’t meet many people as genuinely nice has he is. Love you Brodie. pic.twitter.com/GCOJpBqAc4
— Pretty Ricky (@KingRicochet) December 27, 2020
You can count on very few fingers the number of people who have been in wrestling for an extended period of time that you will never hear a bad word about. @ThisBrodieLee was one of those guys.
— Lenny Leonard (@WWNLennyLeonard) December 27, 2020