On July 12th, Travis Orndorff announced that his father, Paul ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Orndorff passed away at the age of 71. A funeral for Paul was held last week and Travis set up a live stream so that fans of Orndorff’s could tune in to see the service.
Travis sat down with THE HANNIBAL TV prior to the funeral and opened up about his father’s passing and some of the struggles he had been combating throughout the years. Travis first dove into the great deal of support he received from people all over the world who were fans of his father. He then shared the story of a moment where Paul used his right arm, which was paralyzed, to pull Travis in and tell him that he loves him.
Oh man, don’t start with that [Travis was asked how he is holding up]. I’ll lose my stuff. Had to make sure I was composed for right now but, man, I don’t have the words. I really don’t. ‘Thank you’ just doesn’t qualify. It doesn’t. The notes that I’ve received and the messages and the condolences and the stories, the donations. I knew that people loved my dad but you don’t know until — you just don’t know until it happens and you’re sitting back going, ‘I hope this is received as I intended’ which is to celebrate his legacy, his life and that every fan that wanted to have an opportunity to be a part of it and I’ve received messages from Peru, from Denmark… China, Japan. So a couple things I had to get translated, but it’s been amazing. There’s a hole in my heart that it’ll never be filled but, just seeing how much people love my dad has been — it’s been amazing. I’m humbled, I’m grateful, it’s just been the most amazing experience and I’m so grateful. I’m grateful that I had the relationship I did with him and I’ll share this: My wife was there with me Monday night and so I walk in the room and for the record, I did give him a couple beers but they were non-alcoholic and so I came in and I said, ‘Dad, you want a beer?’ And he said, ‘Oh yeah!’ I said okay so I go pour him a little one that he could have and he got up and he hugged me really, really tight and that was the picture that got captured, and then my wife stayed to his left, I stayed to the right because his right arm is paralyzed and I took him into his bed, laid him down and as God is my witness, I was so glad she was there because I didn’t…
My wife and I were escorting him to bed. He decided it was time to go to bed. It was about 11:30 and he had stayed up later than usual which was such a surprise and then, so I was on his right side because that’s his weak side and I was so glad my wife was there because it’s one of those things that happens and you just can’t believe it but, I was on his right side, we laid him down and as God is my witness, he grabbed me with his right arm. I don’t know how, I don’t know if it came off the bed, all I know is he gripped me and pulled me close and kissed me on the cheek and said, ‘Trav, I love you’ and those were his last conscious words. After that, he laid down and honestly just didn’t get up and so we were there until the — we were there with my niece. We were there until his very last breath. It was… it was a horrible but wonderful experience just to be a part from my beginning of my life ‘till [the end of] his life and he meant so much to me. There just isn’t words so…
Travis spoke about his father’s health over the past several years. He believes that the concussions led to his father’s dementia. Paul’s brain was examined and it was relayed to Travis that Paul’s temporal lobe volume was diminished beyond what an Alzheimer’s patient would show.
So we don’t have a history of Alzheimer’s and so, what I understand — so I’m only gonna share with you what doctors have told me. What we did was get in touch with Doctor [Bennet] Omalu and Doctor Omalu, I think he’s from the movie Concussion, Will Smith played him. He came and got his [Paul Orndorff’s] brain. We were able to work that out. The brain scans prior, so there was brain scans done as I got the medical records just a month ago, there was clear Alzheimer’s and they described his brain with blood and fluid, extensive blood and fluid and then his temporal lobe volume was diminished beyond what an Alzheimer’s patient would be so, you know, obviously he’s one of the very few people that lived 70 years and went through what he did because he took care of his body. He survived stage 4 cancer and was still trucking, right? So his brain is gonna have enough of a maturation time that I think they’re gonna be able to investigate further but, all of them as I understand it, including — I spoke with the people at the funeral home when the technicians came out, they looked at his temporal lobe and they were like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never seen anything shriveled up like this. Not like this one’ so, he died of natural causes or of Alzheimer’s, but if anything — what I believe is it exacerbated it and continued it so even if he did have it, it took [it] to a level ten but my perspective and my belief system just based on our family history is that most likely that the concussions caused the dementia, not the other way around.
To hear the audio of POST Wrestling discussing the passing of Paul Orndorff and his career in pro wrestling, check out the isolated clip on our YouTube page.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The HANNIBAL TV with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.