According to reports from multiple sources, Matt Osborne, perhaps best known for his days working for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as the original Doink the Clown, has died at the age of 55-years-old. Details on the circumstances surrounding his death are still cloudy, but he was apparently found dead by his girlfriend.
WWE.com has an article up on it:
A rugged brawler in promotions like Mid-South Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling, Osborne made a major impact in WWE under the greasepaint of a prankster named Doink - one of the most enduring personas of the early '90s. WWE is saddened by the news of Osborne's passing. Our deepest condolences go out to Osborne's family, friends and fans.
You can also check out a playlist from the company on his greatest moments by clicking here.
The Wrestling Observer has some history on his earlier days:
Osborne was a high school wrestling star in Oregon who became a regular, working his way up the ranks in Portland Wrestling. In his younger days, he was on the verge of success in a number of places but outside activities hurt him.
Most notably, he and Arn Anderson were set to become the lead tag team in Georgia in 1983, but complains of a sexual assault saw him have to leave the area, which actually opened the door to the last minute introduction of The Road Warriors as a team.
PW Insider has a bit on his work as Doink the Clown (click here for the full read, which is well worth it):
Osbourne was brought back to the WWF in 1993. With the advent of the Monday Night Raw era, a slew of new personalities were introduced. The knock on WWF had been that it had become a circus among old school wrestling fans. With Osbourne, WWF now had their clown - dressed as a clown with bright green wig, white, red and blue facepaint and a colorful polka-dotted outfit, he began appearing in the audience at shows.
Over time, it was revealed that Doink was an evil clown. He would pull cruel pranks on fans at ringside and eventually, on the late Bryan "Crush" Adams, attacking him with a fake arm he pulled out of a sling. Doink was off to the races, including a Wrestlemania 9 appearance where he defeated Crush after a second, identical Doink (Steve Keirn) came from under the ring. It was twin magic well before there was a Bella Twin in sight.
Osborne was talented but extremely troubled. And while he wasn't necessarily young, he certainly wasn't old, and we here at Cageside Seats would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and all those affected by his passing.