Cancer Claims Steve Dr. Death Williams


Steve “Dr. Death” Williams, a former University of Oklahoma football player and professional wrestling star, died December 29 after a long battle with cancer. Williams spent 20 years as a professional wrestler in both the United States and overseas.

Although Steve Williams made a name for himself fighting in the ring, in recent years the biggest battle he had to fight was against throat cancer. In 2004, Williams had his larynx removed after being diagnosed with late stage throat cancer. He survived the experience and then went on to share his second chance at life in a book that he authored, called Steve Williams: How Dr. Death Became Dr. Life. The book was published in March 2007.

Throat cancer is cancer that forms in the tissues of the pharynx, which is the hollow tube inside the neck that begins behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe. The cancer can affect the nasopharynx (upper part of the throat behind the nose), oropharynx (middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (bottom of the pharynx). Cancer of the larynx is also included as a type of throat cancer.


According to the National Cancer Institute, there were an estimated 24,900 new cases of throat cancer (including cancer of the larynx) in the United States in 2009, with 5,890 deaths. Tobacco and alcohol use are the most common risk factors for throat cancer.

Steve Williams wrestled and played football while at the University of Oklahoma, and then went on to play professional football for the New Jersey Generals in the United States Football League. He got the nickname “Dr. Death” because of his tough reputation. After leaving football, he went on to spend 20-plus years working for major wrestling promotions around the world, including World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Mid-South, Universal Wresting Federation (UWF), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In 2003, Steve won the NWA Heavyweight title in China.

In the Amazon review of his book, it states that “though his unparalleled battle with throat cancer temporarily affected his wrestling career and life, by the grace of God and through his Savior Jesus Christ, 'Dr. Life' Steve Williams is alive and well.” Williams had said that he was dedicated to bringing his testimony to people from the wrestling ring. Williams may have lost his battle with cancer, but his words and memory live on. Sympathies to his family.

National Cancer Institute, Dec. 30, 2009