Wrestling legend Ric Flair has four children, and three of them followed him into the ring. In 2013, his family faced a tragedy when son Reid Flair died at age 25. Reid, who was born Richard Reid Fliehr, died on March 29, 2013 from an overdose of heroin, clonasepam and alprazolam.
Before his death, Reid had a promising career in wrestling, which was often threatened by other legal problems. Two years after his death, the WWE controversially used his death in a publicity stunt during Ashley Flair’s WWE Divas Championship signing.
Reid did not have children and was not married at the time of his death. He was survived by his father, his mother Elizabeth, half-siblings Megan and David, and sister Ashley Flair, who wrestles as Charlotte Flair.
Here’s what you need to know about Reid Flair, Ric Flair’s younger son.
1. Reid’s Cause of Death Was an Accidental Overdose of Heroin & Prescription Drugs Clonasepam & Alprazolam
Reid was found dead at a Residence Inn in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 29, 2013. WMBF News reported that police said there were signs of drug activity in the hotel room. A family member found him in his bed. Police were called there in the morning and found him incapacitated.
The police released a second 911 call, in which Ric Flair was heard yelling, “He’s out cold. He’s out cold and he’s turning purple! Please!” Detectives quickly determined that there was no sign of foul play at the scene.
“We are heartbroken to confirm that Ric’s son, Reid Fliehr, has passed away today March 29, 2013 in Charlotte, N.C.,” the Flair family Said in a statement released by Ric Flair’s agent. “The investigation into the cause of death is ongoing. Reid was 25 and an incredible son, brother, friend, and professional wrestler. No words can describe the grief that Ric and his family are experiencing and they do request privacy during this devastating time.”
The medical examiner’s autopsy confirmed in June 2013 that Reid Flair died of a heroin overdose. The autopsy showed that he also had two prescription drugs in his system – clonazepam, a muscle relaxant; and alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medication often marketed as Xanax.
2. The Flair Family Wasn’t Told That Reid’s Death Would Be Used as a Publicity Stunt in 2015
In November 2015, Reid’s death was mentioned to spark a fight between Charlotte and Saraya-Jade Bevis, known as Paige in the ring. During a Divas Championship Contract Signing, Paige mentioned that Charlotte’s “little baby brother” didn’t have “much fight in him.” Then, Charlotte jumped to begin the fight in the ring.
The Flair family was not happy with this. Reid and Charlotte’s mother Elizabeth tweeted that it was lazy, disrespectful, cruel and sad.
Ric Flair said on his podcast that the scene made him cry and he was not approached for it. “I never heard a word about it. I started crying when I was watching,” he said.
Ric added that even if the WWE had asked Charlotte about it before the fight, she could have been fired if she said no because she doesn’t have the clout. “I don’t think that it would have made any difference. If they ask you to do something, what is she going to say? ‘No, I quit?” Ric said. He also denied rumors that Charlotte came up with the idea.
“It’s a pressure cooker, and a tough spot to be in,” Ric said on his podcast. “If you’re asked to do something, that’s pretty much the way things operate up there. Everybody walks on pins and needles. Just because you’re the champ, doesn’t mean you say no. It’s a very sensitive issue, it’s very new. I know her mom is on fire. I’m not going out on a limb to say what I think.”
The WWE later took responsibility for the stunt. “Subject matter this personal is only approved as a result of the strong advocacy of the talent themselves. Notwithstanding that, WWE is ultimately responsible for what airs in its programming,” the statement read.
3. Reid Fought Alongside His Father in World Championship Wrestling
As the son of a legendary wrestler, it seemed only natural that Reid followed his father into the family business. Reid first participated in wrestling with his father when Ric Flair was a member of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which is now defunct.
Reid took part in another match in June 2000. This time, it was a tag-team match, with Reid paired against his father against David Flair and Vince Russo. The father-and-son team lost the match though.
Reid returned to wrestling in 2008. According to Online World of Wrestling, he made his official debut in December 2008, at Highspots Presents ‘The Nature Boy,’ a tribute to his father. Reid teamed up with his half-brother David to beat The Nasty Boys in a tag-team match. Hulk Hogan was the guest referee that night.
4. Reid Faced Several Arrests From 2007 to 2011, Including DWI & Drug Charges
Reid had several run-ins with the law before his untimely death, which is likely why he never got a WWE development deal.
“I think it is (on the table),” he told Slam! Sports in 2008 when asked if he’d like a WWE development deal. “I’d like to get a chance to get a better view of the business first and see how things work and learn to appreciate it, instead of just getting down to Florida just because of who I was. I want to kind of work through things, do it like how everyone else does it. I know some things will be different because of my last name but I didn’t want go down to Florida without any knowledge of wrestling or basically be down there because of who I was.”
Reid never got the deal he hoped for.
Reid’s first run-in with the law came in 2007, when he was arrested on assault and battery charges. In 2009, he was attested on driving while impaired.
Also in 2009, he was arrested after he crashed his car. Police found black tar heroin inside and he was charged with a felony. He was released after he posted $15,000 bail. The Charlotte Observer reported that police said he overdosed twice in 2011.
5. Reid Spent His Last Year Wrestling in Japan
From 2008 to 2012, Reid participated in several professional wrestling leagues, but never at a WWE event, aside from his father’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008. He spent his last year wrestling professionally in Japan.
In January 2013, Reid began training at the All-Japan Dojo. Reid’s father Ric was supposed to take part in a match, but Reid replaced him when Ric fell ill.
Reid took part in an All Japan event on March 17 and returned to the U.S. 12 days before his death.
Reid’s last tweet was on March 28, promoting two shows with his father in Maryland. “Two shows in Maryland this weekend with @RicFlairNatrBoy. Good #wrestling and even better times ahead,” he wrote.