Former WWE star and former US Army paratrooper Michael James Penzel have died

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Former WWE star Corporal Kirchner has died aged 64, according to reports.

Sports artist Michael Penzel, of North Carolina, died at his home on Wednesday.

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Former pro-corporal wrestler Kirchner has died aged 64, reports showCredit: WWE.com
Tributes were paid to the sports artist, real name Michael Penzel

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Tributes were paid to the sports artist, real name Michael PenzelCredit: www.dignitymemorial.com

Penzel, a former U.S. Army paratrooper, met iconic wrestler Hulk Hogan at a gym and was introduced to professional wrestling, Wrestlinginc.com reports.

He signed to WWE, then known as WWF, where he performed under the gimmicks RT Reynolds and Corporal Kirchner.

He is believed to have replaced the legendary wrestler Sgt. Slaughter.

Penzel then performed in Japan under the Leatherface gimmick – a character based on the villain from the 1970s horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

In 2001, Penzel was scheduled to appear in a battle royale match at Wrestlemania X-7, but a week before the big event he was taken out of roster.

In 2006, WWE mistakenly announced the wrestler’s death because there was some confusion over his name at the time. The company corrected the error.

Rob Feinstein, the founder of wrestling company Ring of Honor, paid tribute to Penzel on Facebook.

And, former professional wrestler Gangrel shared a link to Penzel’s online obituary.

Fans have also expressed their condolences online.

One of them said, “Peace, Corporal Kirchner.”

While another commented: “RIP Super Leather aka Leatherface aka Corporal Kirchner.”

And a third posted: “Saddened to hear of the passing of former WWF Superstar Corporal Kirchner. I’ve always wanted to meet him but unfortunately he never appeared in my area. He will be sorely missed. . RIP “

He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

Penzel is best known for his WWF plight, but also wrestled in Japan

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Penzel is best known for his WWF plight, but also wrestled in JapanCredit: www.pwmania.com

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