Former Hilton Head Islander Sean Christopher Haire, known as Sean O'Haire when he was a wrestler for World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment, was found dead Tuesday in his home in Spartanburg
An Atlanta native, Haire was 43.
Spartanburg police were called to the home early Tuesday morning in reference to a suicide, according to an incident report from the Spartanburg Public Safety Department. Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said in a statement that Haire was pronounced dead at about 7:30 Tuesday morning.
Clevenger said the cause and manner of death are still under investigation.
Hilton Head Island head football coach B.J. Payne, who heard the news Tuesday night, knew Haire from his wrestling days.
"We wrestled together for about two years," Payne wrote in a text. "(I) knew him well when we wrestled but hadn't talked to him in like eight years. When I found out he was from here, I tried to look him up ... to no avail."
Haire, a Hilton Head Island High School graduate, wrestled for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 2000-2001, when it was purchased by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). He was a three-time tag-team champion.
He called his finishing move the "Seanton Bomb," a diving flip where his back struck a prone opponent on the mat.
In a 2007 story, his mother, Sheila Scoggins Zeek, told the Island Packet that in elementary school, Haire was a pretty ordinary-looking child who loved gymnastics.
"He was always jumping off things and doing contortions," Zeek said. "He used to put a towel around his neck like Superman and jump off the porch."
WWE issued a two-sentence statement on Haire's death.
"WWE extends its condolences to Sean Christopher Haire's family, friends and fans on his passing. Haire performed under the name 'Sean O'Haire,' and was under contract with WWE from 2001-2004."
After retiring from wrestling, he competed briefly in kickboxing and mixed martial arts.
In September 2007, Haire took part in a mixed martial arts event hosted by Bluffton-based professional fighter Muhsin Corbbrey's Champion Training Center at the Savannah Civic Center.
Haire won his bout in less than a minute, knocking out smaller opponent Darrell Wood with one punch. He drew the loudest cheers of the night before, during and after his match.
At the time of the match, Haire and another man were facing misdemeanor charges of simple assault and battery stemming from his alleged role in an altercation outside Hilton Head Brewing Company that March. In the altercation, Haire suffered a fractured orbital lobe and other fractures to his face and skull.
Previously, Haire had been charged in four fights on the island, but was only convicted of one. Corbbrey said O' Haire was trying his best to put his legal troubles behind him.
"He is focused on fighting," Corbbrey told the Island Packet at the time. "He's not going out at night and not hanging out with the bad influences anymore. And he's in really great shape."
At the time of his death, he was employed as a personal trainer at Exzel Fitness in Spartanburg.
According to his obituary posted online by Floyd's Mortuary, Haire is the son of John Ernest Haire, whom he lived with, and the late Zeek.
In addition to his father, he is survived by a sister, Erin Alverson Haire of Spartanburg; brothers, Andrew Renny Lands of Spartanburg, Shane Cecil Joseph Haire of Rock Hill, Shan Ezra Haire of Statesville, Ga., and a cat named Theodore.
A Celebration of Life visitation will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at his home at 510 Hampton Drive, Spartanburg, S.C. 29306.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The YMCA, 151 Ribault Street, Spartanburg, S.C. 29302 or online at spartanburgymca.org.
The Spartanburg Herald-Journal contributed to this report.