Brian Hebner’s Reffin’ It Up Podcast has announced that his uncle, famed-WWE referee Dave Hebner, has passed away. No cause of death is currently known. Hebner was 73 years old.
“RIP Dave Hebner. Gone but never forgotten. Always loved,” the tribute read. A referee in his own right, Brian is the son of Dave’s twin brother, Earl Hebner.
Hebner is best remembered for his time as a WWE referee, starting with the company in the 1970s. He was most notably involved in the controversial ending to the WWF Main Event match that saw Andre The Giant defeat WWF Champion Hulk Hogan for the title. Dave appeared to make a fast count, but when a second Hebner appeared, it was revealed the referee was actually Dave’s twin brother Earl, leading to Earl’s debut in the then-WWF. Earl Hebner went on to be a successful referee like his brother, working for WWE, TNA, and AEW.
Dave Hebner went on to work as a referee for the company, until a knee replacement forced him to retire from refereeing and begin a career as a road agent. Hebner continued in that capacity until he was released from his contract in 2005. Hebner had reportedly been battling Parkinson’s Disease, according to a complaint he filed as part of a class-action suit against WWE.
Hebner’s health took a downturn recently, with a tweet from former-NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler showing gaunt Hebner confined to a wheelchair. Sadler asked for prayers and good vibes to the family friend, saying “the Hebner family is so important to my family.”