Sara “Weston” Lee, a past season winner of World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) popular “Tough Enough” show, has died, her family announced. She was 30.
“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that our Sara Weston has gone to be with Jesus,” her mother, Terri Lee, wrote in an emotional post on social media.
“We are all in shock and arrangements are not complete,” she added. “We ask that you respectfully let our family mourn.”
A cause of death was not disclosed.
In a statement on Twitter, WWE also confirmed Lee’s death, paying tribute to her while offering their “heartfelt condolences” to her family, friends, and fans.
“WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of Sara Lee,” the professional wrestling promotion said. “As a former ‘Tough Enough’ winner, Lee served as an inspiration to many in the sports-entertainment world.”
WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of Sara Lee. As a former “Tough Enough” winner, Lee served as an inspiration to many in the sports-entertainment world. WWE offers its heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/jtjjnG52n7
— WWE (@WWE) October 7, 2022
In her latest post on Instagram, shared only about a day before her sudden death, Lee had written that she was recovering from a sinus infection.
“Celebrating finally being healthy enough to go to the gym 2 days in a row … first ever sinus infection kicked my butt,” Lee wrote along with a selfie where she posed before a mirror.
In 2017, Lee married former WWE wrestler Cory James Weston, who worked under the ring name Westin Blake. The couple had three children together.
As news about Lee’s passing spread—tributes poured in for the late athelete, including from fellow ring fighter Chelsea Green.
“No tweet or amount of words can bring back this beautiful human, but all of my heart goes out to @TheWestinBlake & their family,” Green said on Twitter, sharing a number of pictures of the duo. “The photo on the left is how I will always remember her—laughing, smiling, carefree,” she added.
Shawn Bennett, a WWE referee described Lee in a post on Twitter as “one of the sweetest” persons she’d met whose smile “lit up a room.”
“My love and hope for strength goes to Cory, and their three beautiful children,” Bennett said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by former WWE star James Smith—who performed under the ring name Bull James—to help Lee’s family cover her funeral expenses.
“We’re all shocked and saddened by the sudden death of ‘Tough Enough’ winner Sara Lee,” Smith wrote in the page’s description. “As her loving husband, Cory, picks up the pieces and continues to raise their [three] children, the last thing anyone in that position wants to be worried about is money and paying for a funeral and everything else that comes along with it.”
In 2015, Lee appeared on “Tough Enough” during the show’s sixth season and was crowned champion of the promotion’s reality contest, earning herself a one-year contract from WWE.
For most of 2016, she wrestled for the organization before being ultimately released in 2016.