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WWF performer Virgil dead at 61

Mike 'Virgil' Jones Mike 'Virgil' Jones - World Wrestling Entertainment

Professional wrestler Mike Jones, best known for his run in the World Wrestling Federation as "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase's bodyguard Virgil, has died at the age of 61.

Jones had been diagnosed with dementia in 2022.

"My dear friends, it is with great sorrow that I bring news from the Jones family of the passing of our beloved Michael Jones, whom we know and loved as Virgil, Vincent, Soul Train Jones and more," Pittsburgh-based referee Mark Charles III posted on Facebook.

"Virgil passed peacefully at the hospital this morning and I ask that you pray for him and for his family. May his memory be eternal!"

A native of Wilkingsburg, PA, Jones broke into the business in 1985 and first achieved success in Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association as Soul Train Jones where he held the AWA International Heavyweight Championship and the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship alongside Amherst, Nova Scotia's Rocky Johnson, father of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Jones joined the WWF in 1986 and was paired with DiBiase the following year. Clad in his trademark sequined vest, Jones would accompany DiBiase to the ring and would serve as his heater, wrestling those feuding with DiBiase who would need to defeat Jones to earn a match with him. After increasingly being humiliated by DiBiase, Jones turned babyface in 1991 and feuded with DiBiase, defeating him for the Million Dollar Championship at SummerSlam at Madison Square Garden.

In 1996, Jones jumped to World Championship Wrestling and joined the New World Order stable as Vincent, the group's head of security where he would once again be aligned with DiBiase. He would remain in WCW for the next several years and adopt the persona of "Curly Bill," a member of the West Texas Rednecks, a country music-loving stable in 1999. He would retire from full-time competition in 2000 and become a high-school math teacher.

Jones would make sporadic appearances for different companies in the years since his retirement, including a brief run as the bodyguard of Ted DiBiase Jr. in World Wrestling Entertainment in 2010 and appearances in All Elite Wresting in 2019 and 2020.