Former WCW Wrestler Daffney Unger Dead at 46 After Concerning Instagram Live Video
Former professional wrestler Daffney Unger has died at age 46, several wrestling promotions and WWE on Fox have confirmed.
Unger's mother Jean Tookey Spruill (the wrestler's real name was Shannon Spruill) also confirmed her death, writing on Facebook, "It is with great sadness I have to let you know that my daughter Shannon Spruill … Scream Queen Daff, passed away suddenly last night. Absolutely heartbroken."
On Wednesday, Unger sparked concerns after she hosted an Instagram Live that showed her holding what appeared to be a small gun. In her video, which has since been reposted elsewhere, Unger discussed potentially having symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disorder caused by repeated concussions.
"The most important thing to remember is, that, CTE, and head injuries and concussions, they can only really now be—" Unger said in the video, before pausing and taking several nervous breaths. "They can now really only be diagnosed after you are dead."
"So, I don't want to do anything to hurt my brain. I want to be studied," she continued. "I want the future generations to know. Don't do stupid s--- like me."
After the Instagram Live, former pro wrestler Mick Foley used Twitter to ask people to help locate Unger.
"If anyone has a way of reaching Daffney Unger, or knows her address, please help out," Foley said. "She's in a bad personal place and is threatening to harm herself. My phone call went straight to voicemail."
SHIMMER Wrestling announced Unger's death on Thursday morning with a message from her friend, Lexie Fyfe. Social media accounts connected to WWE also posted tributes to the former wrestler, who got her start in 1999 on WCW and also had a notable stint in TNA.
The WWE, which purchased WCW in 2001, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Fyfe told the New York Daily News that Unger was found on Thursday morning, adding, "This last act, I don't want it to define her. She would always want people to reach out for help and to check in on those they're worried about. We're going to miss her."
"I'm so very sorry to learn of Daffney's passing," Foley wrote on Thursday morning. "A terrible loss for her family, friends and wrestling. She was far ahead [of] her time in our business. #RIPDaffney If you're hurting and thinking of doing harm to yourself, please know that help is available."
Unger was a "born performer," Fyfe told the Daily News, noting her friend was "made for wrestling."
"When she had to retire due to injuries, she missed it immensely," Fyfe said. "She'll be missed as a performer too, not just as a friend, but mostly as a friend."
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As defined by the Centers for Disease Control, concussions are traumatic injuries generated by hits to the head or body that cause the brain to bounce around the skull. Pro wrestling organizations, along with the NFL, have had to confront the issue of CTE amongst its athletes due to a number of deaths in recent years.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.