As confirmed by the WWE, wrestler Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart—a two-time WWF Tag Team Champion and former member of the Hart Foundation tag team duo with his brother-in-law Bret “Hitman” Hart—has died. According to a report from ESPN, Neidhart died after falling at his home and hitting his head, with authorities saying he “succumbed to his injury.” Another brother-in-law, former wrestler Ross Hart, said that Neidhart had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and had a seizure before his death. Neidhart was 63.
Born in 1955, Neidhart had a brief career in the NFL (playing in preseason games for the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys) before moving to Canada to train with Stampede Wrestling founder Stu Hart. At Stampede in the ‘80s, Neidhart won several tag team championships and an anvil-tossing competition (giving him his nickname, “The Anvil”), and he married Stu Hart’s daughter Elizabeth Hart. In 1985, Vince McMahon bought Stampede, bringing Neidhart and his brother-in-law Bret Hart to the WWF (as it was known at the time). Unhappy with the cowboy-themed gimmick he had initially been given, Bret Hart petitioned McMahon to let him form a duo—The Hart Foundation—with Neidhart.
The Hart Foundation made its pay-per-view debut during WrestleMania 2 in 1986, and the team won its first WWF World Tag Team Championship a year later. Hart and Neidhart won their second Tag Team Championship in 1990, but Hart and Neidhart began wrestling separately more often. He was fired from the WWF in 1992 and moved around to other professional wrestling organizations, including New Japan Pro Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, and Eastern Championship Wrestling before rejoining the WWF in 1994. Neidhart again left and rejoined a few times in the following years, including a brief return in 2007 in between WCW and Total Nonstop Action appearances.
Neidhart has three daughters, one of whom, Natalie, is signed to the WWE and regularly appears on E!’s Total Divas.