Former wrestler Daffney Unger, whose goth-style makeup, punk attitude and uninhibited shrieking earned her the nickname Scream Queen, was found dead today at her home outside Atlanta. She was 46.
Although a cause of death has not been disclosed, she had hosted a disturbing Instagram Live on Wednesday night in which she appeared to be discussing suicide as she held a small gun. Her death was confirmed today by her mother, friends and several pro wrestling promoters.
Unger, whose height of fame was in the late 1990s and early 2000s, retired from active wrestling 10 years ago. In her final video, she spoke of suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — the degenerative brain disorder caused by repeated concussions.
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“It is with great sadness I have to let you know that my daughter Shannon Spruill … Scream Queen Daff, passed away suddenly last night,” wrote Unger’s mother Jean Tookey Spruill on Facebook today, using her daughter’s real name. “Absolutely heartbroken.”
The Instagram Live video has been taken down. In it, the distraught Unger addressed viewers, at one point saying: “Do you guys not understand that I am all alone? Do you not understand that?” Later, she makes an apparent reference to her wishes that her brain be donated for medical study, noting: “I don’t want to do anything to hurt my brain. I want to be studied. I want the future generations to know. Don’t do stupid shit like me.”
Unger wrestled for World Championship Wrestling from 1999-2001 and then with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling from 2008-11. For several years beginning in 2012, she worked in various on-camera roles (though not actively wrestling) for Shine Wresting.
She is survived by her mother; information on other survivors was not immediately available.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.
“We are very sad to have to announce the passing of Shannon Spruill aka Daffney Unger @screamqueendaff. We are posting this at the request of her family. Please respect their privacy at this trying time.
I will miss you my logical sister from another mister.”
— SHIMMER Wrestling (@SHIMMERwomen) September 2, 2021
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) September 2, 2021
The entire NWA would like to send our condolences to the friends and family of Shannon Spruill aka Daffney Unger, a truly special soul in this business.
RIP Daffney, you will be missed. pic.twitter.com/RwHGy8aDyb
— NWA (@nwa) September 2, 2021