Former Memphis wrestling legend and promoter Corey Maclin was killed late Tuesday evening in a car crash on I-55 near Sardis, Miss.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol says the 43-year-old Maclin was southbound on I-55 just south of Sardis in Panola County around 10:30 p.m., Tuesday when his vehicle swerved into oncoming traffic and rolled over, throwing him from his vehicle.
Maclin was pronounced dead on the scene. He was alone in the vehicle. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Maclin was a fixture in the Bluff City for decades. He was a wrestler, wrestling promoter, announcer, and formerly worked with Jerry "The King" Lawler before the two became embroiled in a trademark lawsuit over the name "Memphis Wrestling."
For two years in 2010 he was the sports anchor at WPTY Channel 24 in Memphis and also ran for office in Shelby County, Tenn.
Maclin will be mostly remembered on television next to a wrestling ring on Saturday mornings talking about wrestling. It was just one of the many faces of Maclin. He was a sports anchor, marketing executive, husband and father. In an instant he was gone.
Lawler said he got the bad news about Maclin early Tuesday at his East Memphis home.
"Well I woke up early this morning with my phone blowing up with my friends and the news people calling with the news," "The King" said. "It was just a total shock. You never expect to hear something like this. Especially with the passing of Jackie Fargo and then now Corey Maclin. It's just one sadness after another."
'Fargo Strut' wrestler Jackie Fargo passes away (June 2013)
Memphis attorney John Michael Bailey was a fan first and then a client.
"I met Corey. He had called and was interested in sponsoring something on studio wrestling," Bailey recalled. "Corey came out, sat down. Of course anybody who ever met Corey always made an indelible impression a spark plug of life. I think he could sell ice in the Antarctic, and very soon we started doing sponsorships on studio wrestling."
It was a relationship that lasted for years.
"Corey invited us back stage to meet all the wrestlers," Bailey said. "I got introduced to Jerry Lawler and Jimmy Hart and all the other guys who were good guys one week and bad guys the next week. We did a lot of appearances. In fact, I had this picture in my office, this picture right here was taken by Cory Maclin."
Several years ago Lawler and Maclin had a falling out over business. Lawler said it has been over a year since he had spoken to a man that at one time was a huge part of his life.
"It's one of those things I think a lot about this morning," Lawler said. "One of those situations when you know it's wrong to hold a grudge and keep harboring hard feelings toward someone because in the end that stuff becomes trivial. You think back to the good times and the friendship you had with a person and you realize how petty the misunderstanding really was.
"I feel so badly for Corey's family because Carmella, his wife and his kids, are wonderful people. Just great people," Lawler added.
Kevin Lawler, Jerry's son, told FOX13 News that the Memphis Wildfire Wrestling Organization is holding a memorial service Wednesday evening to honor Maclin. The memorial event starts at 7 p.m. at the Boston Baptist Church.
Funeral arrangements for Maclin have not been set. He leaves behind a wife and six children.
Maclin Family Statement:
We are grateful and dearly touched for the overwhelming outpouring of support and concern from our community concerning the loss of our beloved Corey. Corey Maclin loved Memphis and Memphians, and he dedicated his life to bringing joy and happiness to the whole Memphis community through the venues of news, entertainment, and through public service.
Obviously, this is a time of great grief and sadness for us. We appreciate you keeping us in your prayers while our family embraces each other and tries to find some comfort at this unexpected and devastating loss of such a great man. We thank you in advance for respecting our privacy.
We will issue a statement regarding memorial and funeral arrangements at a later date.
The Maclin Family
FOX13 News Good Morning Memphis reporter Earle Farrell and the Associated Press in Mississippi contributed to this report.