Rumors are swirling on social media that Nicole Bass, who worked for WWE in 1999, has passed away. Sadly, this rumor appears to be true.
This info comes from Bass’ personal Facebook page. In a post on her page, a friend of Bass revealed that she died on Thursday.
A few days ago Nicole got very sick. She was brought into the hospital and they did everything they could to help her. I have been sitting here with her in the room 24/7 since she got here making sure she was being given the best possible care. Today we learned that there is nothing else that can be done.
Here is the post in its entirety.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer later confirmed that Bass died on Thursday. She was 52.
Rumors that Bass was in poor health began circulating on Monday as a reddit user claimed on the Howard Stern subreddit that she suffered a major heart attack that day. User Pyrepenol wrote:
Her girlfriend got in contact with us and told us she’s in the hospital… Not sure how she’s doing at the moment but keep her in your thoughts and prayers if you’re into that sort of thing.
According to Meltzer, Bass suffered a massive stroke earlier this week and never recovered.
Prior to entering professional wrestling, Bass had an extensive career as a female bodybuilder in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, she was a controversial figure in the bodybuilding scene because of her huge size. Although bigger and more muscular than any other woman of her era, she never won a major bodybuilding contest until at least a decade into her career. By 1995, she began to place highly in contests and would go on to win the 1997 NPC National Bodybuilding Championship.
Her being the butt of jokes about whether she was really a man led her to be regularly featured on The Howard Stern Show, leading to a measure of cult celebrity status.
After Chyna became a star in WWE — then known as the WWF — both WCW and ECW tried to copy her success by hiring woman bodybuilders. Paul Heyman brought Bass to ECW in 1997 on the guise they had someone much larger and more muscular than Chyna.
Following her brief stint in ECW, Bass debuted in WWE in March 1999 by helping Sable successfully defend the Women’s Championship against Tori at WrestleMania XV. From there, the massive Bass went on to manhandle a number of females on the roster, including Ivory, Debra and Jacqueline.
Bass was bigger than many men WWE, but was put in the ring with limited wrestling training. This hiring was considered a bad decision since she was much bigger than Chyna, which worked against the then-popular star’s gimmick.
Bass never got wrestling down and her stay in the company was short; she was let go in the summer of 1999. She later filed a lawsuit against WWE for sexual harassment, claiming she was sexually assaulted backstage by Steve Lombardi (a/k/a Brooklyn Brawler). The case went to court in 2002 and was ultimately dismissed.
Bass had battled health problems for the past several years. She was hospitalized in 2006 due to steroid-influenced pancreatitis.