On the latest episode of AEW Unrestricted, Amanda Huber, the widow of the late Jon Huber (aka Brodie Lee), opened up about the passing of Jon. She said her purpose was to set the full record straight and give answers to the many questions that people have had about Jon’s passing. She started from Jon’s initial diagnosis of “bronchitis and allergies”.
“He would typically drive to Jacksonville on Tuesday nights, so he could check in, be here and like everybody said, he would wrestle and then Thursday’s, he would drive home at 3:00 – 4:00 in the morning just to be home,” Amanda said. “And I’d be like, ‘Stay another night. Enjoy it. Get a rest without kids around.’ He’s like, ‘No, I want to be home.’ So he would come home. Tuesday night, drove up to Jacksonville, spent the night and got COVID tested here through AEW, and actually tested negative here at AEW.
“And Doc Samson was like, ‘Hey look, I don’t trust this. I know you don’t feel good. I don’t feel safe letting you in the bubble. Go home [and] come back next week.’ So he texts me, ‘I’m going to come home.’ So he drove home Wednesday, went to go get COVID tested and he got home right at 5:00 when COVID testing ended. So I quarantined him to our bedroom, and I slept in the guest room just on the off chance that he was starting COVID. Started with a fever, super high fever. Had a fever Thursday, Friday.
“Thursday went and got the nasal swab, super high fever just did not feel good. And so I kept him away from the kids, and I would wear masks any time I went into the bedroom. I was keeping him hydrated, and he wasn’t eating, was drinking but just not eating. So Friday went to Urgent Care, and they diagnosed him with bronchitis and allergies. We’re like, ‘That’s not what this is.’ He’s like, ‘I feel like I have a pneumonia,’ and so I was like, ‘tell them that.’ He was like, ‘No, they said I have bronchitis.'”
Amanda detailed Jon’s condition during that time. She talked about her conversations with Jon about admitting him to a hospital.
“Saturday was the same deal was just not eating. He hadn’t eaten for several days, but he was drinking,” Amanda stated. “I told him, ‘As soon as you stop drinking, your going to the hospital. Soon as your fever goes up above 103, you’re going to the hospital. This fever would tap out at 102.9. He had finally eaten, and I was like, okay, because I was trying to get him to the hospital Saturday.
“And he’s like, ‘No, no, I want 24 hours on this antibiotic.’ Okay, fine. So Sunday just was awful. His face looked sunken in, and I was like, ‘You need to go the hospital. I’m done with this.’ He argued with me, and I said, ‘Okay, you got an hour to make a miracle recovery. I’m going to make some phone calls get somebody to come watch the kids. You’re going to the hospital.'”
Amanda described Jon’s state where he was using her to brace himself. She revealed that his oxygen levels were at 52. A normal person’s oxygen level is typically around 95 – 100.
“He walked into the hospital, and he was using my shoulder to kind of brace themselves but not putting pressure on me but just walking alongside me,” Amanda described. “So we get to the check-in desk, and I was like, ‘You need to sit down. You can’t even walk. You’re so winded, and you’re tired and you just need to sit down.’ He goes, ‘I’m not sitting down’ and so said, ‘We’re going to get a wheelchair.’ I don’t need a wheelchair. I said, ‘Sit your f**king ass down. You need to sit down because if you fall, I can’t catch you.’ They take him back to triage, and they take his temperature and by that time his fever had gone away.
“They took his oxygen, little pulse ox. The girl’s like, ‘Hold on, let me go get a new machine.’ Comes back with a new machine [and] takes his oxygen again. ‘That’s not right.’ Comes back with a third machine [and] realizes that the machines aren’t broken. His oxygen was at 52. So a normal person’s supposed to be about 95 to 100. Somebody with severe COPD or asthma, if they’re in the middle of an asthma attack, they usually are around 85. So they were like, ‘What the hell is this?’ So they rushed him back, got him on oxygen.”
Naturally, Amanda and other doctors thought that Jon had COVID-19. However, every test came back negative. She said that the staff wanted to move him into the ICU so that they could have more eyes on him to take care of him easier.
“They did COVID tests,” Amanda stated. “They’re like, ‘This has got to be COVID. We know this is COVID.’ Negative COVID test. While we were in the hospital, got the results from Thursday’s COVID test that were negative. We’re like, ‘This isn’t COVID. We know it’s not COVID.’ So they admitted him to the hospital.
“That was Sunday, and every day he seemed to be doing kind of okay and then he seemed a little rocky and then kind of okay. Wednesday, they moved him to the ICU, and the reason they told me they were moving him to the ICU is because the floor we were on, the nurse ratio, I think was six to one. They were like, ‘We just want a better eye on him.'”
Amanda said that by around Halloween time was when Jon was to be transferred to a hospital outside of where they live in Tampa. She said that AEW’s HR and another lawyer were speaking with the doctors at Mayo Clinic to get an answer as to why he was transferred, and Amanda said that was the first time she had been told that it was “a matter of life and death.”
“Fast forwarding a little bit to Halloween, I go up to the hospital, and they were taking him for a CT scan, or they were taking over some kind of scan when I got there,” Amanda recalled. “So they wouldn’t let me up in the room. So I was waiting in the lobby, and the doctor called me. And he’s like, ‘Hey, when are you going to be here.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m in the lobby right now,’ and he’s like, ‘Okay, you and I need to have a talk.’ I was like, okay, so I go upstairs, and he meets me in the hallway.
“And he’s like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna transfer him,’ and so I assumed we were going to end up at Tampa General, which is a little bit further away from our house, but it’s a bigger hospital. And he’s like, ‘Your options are Mayo or Shands,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know anything about either of them.’ He’s like, ‘Well Mayo’s in Jacksonville. Shands is in Gainesville.’ I was like, ‘Wait, what? What do you mean these are my options?’ So I was very upset. I was like, alright, at least in Jacksonville, I know we have people there that I have connections there. I have people who I don’t know, but my husband knows and my husband trusts.
“So let’s try and make Jacksonville work. So I called Margaret, and she was actually with Megha, who’s the lawyer. Called them and I was on the speakerphone with them while the doctor had the Mayo Clinic on speaker. And they were kind of hemming and hawing about transferring him, and the doctor goes, ‘We need to transfer him. This is a matter of life and death. He needs to go on ECMO,’ which I had never heard of before, ‘and he needs a possible lung transplant.’ And that was the first time I had heard about it.”
Amanda said the doctors apologized to her for that being the first time she heard about that, but the doctor said that was their way of trying to explain how urgent the situation is. She went on to describe Jon’s situation after he had to be put on a ventilator.
“Halloween morning, I run home, pack my bags, sit down with Brodie and tell him what was going on. I kept everything very real with Brodie but in eight-year-old terms,” Amanda noted. “Never once was like, it’s going to be okay because I’m a very big believer in not lying to your kids. So I was like, this is really bad. Dad’s really sick, but he’s going to go to the best hospital in Florida. This is what we’re doing.
“So a friend of mine, who we were going to go to their neighborhood for Halloween, I called her. I said, ‘Hey, can you pick up Brodie up so that way his Halloween’s just not ruined?’ So she picked Brodie up, and so I got the kids dressed in their costume. And I was like, alright, let me get pictures of the kids real quick so I can have them all dressed up and show Jon. And as I was hugging Nolan goodbye, the hospital called me, and they’re like, ‘He crashed and he’s intubated.
“So went back up to the hospital and I walked into the room, and it’s just garbage everywhere. And it was horrifying to look at because he had the tube down his throat, and it was awful. So I couldn’t actually sit in the room with him. I waited in the conference room right down the hall by myself while we waited for our Mercy Flight transfer, and it was just one of the worst moments of my life.”
Amanda said that Jon was placed under the process of ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation). The doctors explained to her that it was basically dialysis for your lungs.
“They stick me in a hallway, and this is 2:00 in the morning,” Amanda said. “And they’re like, ‘We have to get him in a room. You have to sit here.’ So I wait 90 minutes, and I’m just sitting in this hallway for 90 minutes, haven’t slept in a very long time and just literally the most stressful and traumatic day of my life. I finally go walk down the hallway, and I grabbed a nurse. And they look at me like I have six heads. What is a person walking through the ICU at 3:00?
“They were like, ‘We forgot about you,’ and I was like, ‘I know this. Thanks.’ The doctors come, and they start explaining to me the process of ECMO, which is terrifying to hear about it. And it was terrifying to witness the very first day, but essentially, what ECMO is, the way they explained it to me, basically dialysis for your lungs. It’s absolutely horrifying.
“You have a garden-hose size tube coming out of your neck, and you have one carotid that pumps blood straight to your heart and then one out of a vein in your leg. So what it does is it pulls the blood out of your leg, spins it through this machine and oxygenates it, then pumps it directly to your heart. So your heart can push it through the rest of your body.”
Amanda described seeing her husband on ECMO and on a ventilator. She praised the staff at Mayo Clinic for not only taking care of her husband but her as well as she opened u about a panic attack she experienced.
“He got put on the ECMO, and the first day walking into that was — it was a lot,” Amanda stated. “Just to see him not only with the ventilator tube down his throat but the ECMO cannulas. It was horrifying, and after a while, I got used to it, but it is not a pleasant look. He was not conscious. He wasn’t awake. He was very sedated. I have to say that this, the staff at the Mayo Clinic were the most kind and compassionate and incredible human beings on the planet.
“They do not get enough credit for everything they did not only taking care of my husband, but they took care of me too, and they were constantly checking in with me and talking to me. And they explained everything that was happening, and every time they did anything, they’re like, ‘Do you have any questions,’ or anytime I had a question, they never once made me feel like I shouldn’t be asking that. They explained to me what everything was happening. Everything along the way, they were incredible.
“So the first day walking into him on the ECMO cannulas, it was a lot, and the one nurse, Alexis, sat me down and explained to me how everything worked and explained to me that it was like dialysis. She’s like, ‘You need to take care of yourself. Do you have a doctor? I’m not trying to push medication on you, but what you’re going through,’ because I was having the worst panic attacks in a hospital while wearing a mask.”
Amanda then talked about the diagnosis of of what Jon had suffered from being idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. IPF is a serious lung disease that causes scar tissue to grow inside your lungs making it hard to breathe.
“Everybody has thought it was COVID since the jump, and even in the first few days we were at Mayo Clinic, they thought it was COVID,” Amanda noted. “I have pictures of me in full PPE to be in his room because they thought it was COVID. Every COVID test came back negative to the point where I was like, can we just get a positive one just so we have a f**king answer. I just want an answer. That’s all I want… Not 100% sure because I actually don’t have the autopsy report yet, but I believe the official diagnosis was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which literally means that his lungs scarred up, and the idiopathic part means they don’t f**king know why.
“They don’t know what happened to his lungs, but they know his lungs were just completely scarred over. And so talking to the doctors and the nurses, they think part of it — they don’t know what it was, whether it was an ammonia that got out of control. They think whatever fever he had was his body fighting off whatever infection was in his lungs. The problem is the high fever he had for a couple days basically attacked his lung tissue and just scarred it over.
“By the time we were in the hospital, there was no infection. Everything was already out of his system but the leftover scar tissue was there. So on X-rays and scans, your lungs are supposed to be, I believe, totally black on the scan. His were completely white. They were completely scarred over. So that’s why they put him on ECMO to have a chance to have his body rest and not use his lungs and let his lungs just try and heal. That was the hope. Obviously, that didn’t happen.”
Aubrey Edwards asked if a lung transplant was ever an option. Amanda said it was, and she recalled speaking with everyone at AEW about Jon’s condition and asking them to keep it a secret.
“The transplant actually was an option,” Amanda noted. “They had talked to me about the transplant the day I actually came to AEW back on the 9th. I signed paperwork to start the transplant process, which was a very overwhelming moment and then got picked up to go talk to AEW.
“I knew how much my husband meant to everybody here. We have so many friends here. So much so that it blew me away but knowing how many people cared, how many people were worried about him and just trying to keep it quiet, and I wanted people to see me and put a face and know who I was and know this is why I’m asking.
“It’s not just because I’m trying to be secretive, but it’s because that’s what he would have wanted. He wouldn’t have wanted it all over the dirt sheets. He wouldn’t have wanted everybody knowing he was sick. He wouldn’t have wanted the fanfare. That’s just not who he was.”
Amanda noted that things were starting to get better once Jon was taken off the ventilator. She said while he could not speak, they still communicated. However, a panic attack while on oxygen worsened his condition.
“He was getting better, and they had performed a tracheotomy on him so they could remove him from the ventilator and then they put oxygen through his tube,” Amanda said. “And he was able to wake up, and he started communicating with me, and he’d smile, and he’d wink at me and he’d mouths words to me. He couldn’t talk, but he could mouth words because at that point, he had been in the hospital for a couple weeks.
“He was on a feeding tube. He was very malnourished. He was very weak, very tired, but he started on physical therapy and things were looking up and then he got taken off the ventilator and got put on straight oxygen, and that was kind of the day that things started going bad. We were super hopeful, and he had a panic attack while on oxygen and pretty much from that day on, things went to s**t. This was end of November.”
Amanda said she was told by a doctor that she only had two options, a lung transplant or end of life care. She explained that life post-transplant would have altered Jon’s life completely.
“They’re like, ‘Alright, we’re going to revisit the lung transplant,’ and the doctor came in and talked to me,” Amanda stated. “And he basically was like, ‘He needs a lung transplant or end of life care.’ He was a very nice man but very no nonsense. Here are your two options because I was like, ‘What are my options at this point?’ They had talked to me about the process of the transplant and how it was completely life-changing.
“The requirements for post-transplant life were things for me wouldn’t be a big deal, but for him, he would have had to given up wrestling. He would be immune compromised for the rest of his life. Just a lot of the things that they would have asked of him with a transplant were a lot.
“So when they had told me all the information with the transplant, I was like, ‘Okay, well, what if we don’t go transplant. Can we kind of ride this ECMO thing a little longer and see if there’s any improvement,’ and he’s like, ‘No, he’s not showing any signs. He’s actually getting worse. It’s this or nothing.’ That was a super super rough moment for me.”
Amanda explained that an infection was found in Jon’s lung and grew because of how immunocompromised he was. She said that for that reason, she knew in her heart that the answer would be a no in regards to a transplant.
“I was waiting to hear back from the transplant team, and every day, they were like, ‘Okay, we’ll let you know tomorrow. We’ll let you know tomorrow,’ and I knew that they were meeting that night,” Amanda recalled. “And I was going to get a definitive yes or no. I was waiting to hear back, and I knew when I didn’t get a call when I was at AEW that the answer was no. I knew in my heart the answer was no because of the infection.”
Amanda recalled a doctor pulling her aside and talking about how he wanted to do everything they could to help Jon. The doctor said that they wanted to try everything possible before end of life care.
“He pulled me into a conference room,” Amanda stated. “He’s like, ‘Are you ready to give up?’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m not ready to give up! Do I have a choice?’ And he’s like, ‘I know that the transplant doctors made it very black and white. I am not ready to give up on him. I think it’s a long shot, but he’s got so much going for him that I want to try. I want to try other hospitals. I want to try other centers. I want to know that if he goes to end of life care, we have exhausted every possible option.’ I was like, alright, let’s do it.”
Amanda said that she told the nurses and staff not to call her for a while as she spent time with her kids during the holidays. However, a doctor called her telling her that Jon was being placed on end of life care.
“I get home on Christmas Eve. The hospital called me, and it was the only doctor I wasn’t a fan,” Amanda admitted. “The worst part is I had never even talked to this doctor. He called me, and he’s like, ‘Can you come up?’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m at home with my kids.’ He’s like, ‘Well, you need to come here,’ and I was like, ‘No, I don’t you.’ He goes, ‘We need to do end of life,’ and I was like, ‘It’s Christmas f**king Eve.’
“I’m very patient. I’m very kind especially to anybody in a service job because I’ve worked service jobs my whole life. So I’m ultra kind to those people because I know the abuse that they suffer.”
Amanda praised Cody Rhodes and Big E for their help especially with her oldest son Brodie Lee Jr. She said she had called them to ask them to be with her when she told Lee Jr. about his father dying.
“I had been really close with Cody throughout this whole process, and I know it’s been out there before of how Brodie Lee Jr., his best friend in the whole world since he was two years old is Big E from WWE,” Amanda said. “So I called them both Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I said, ‘Hey, I have a huge favor to ask both of you. If you guys want to say no, you can say no. I want you guys to be with me when we tell Brodie’ because I wanted him to be safe.
“That was the worst part of all of this is telling your eight-year-old, ‘Hey, your favorite person in the world, your hero, he’s going to die today.’ How do you crush somebody? So I had called Cody and Big E, and Cody drove in from Atlanta that morning. He left at 8:00 in the morning. So that’s the type of human being Cody is, and I will never be able to thank him enough for everything.”
Amanda noted that Cody has a unique perspective when it comes to losing a father as well especially one that is a legendary wrestler like Dusty Rhodes. She also talked about how others like Shawn Spears, Tyler Breeze and Peyton Royce rushed over to the hospital to say their goodbyes to Jon.
“He’s gone above and beyond, and with Cody, he shares such a unique perspective because Brodie hasn’t really experienced a lot of deaths in his life,” Amanda stated. “Both my parents are alive. My mother-in-law’s alive. Jon’s dad passed well before Jon and I ever started dating. So Brodie had never really lost anybody. So Cody had the unique perspective of Brodie knew Dusty from our time in WWE, and we would be at all the the NXT shows.
“So Brodie got to know Dusty, and Dusty knew Brodie. Brodie would play with him. So Cody has that perspective of having your dad be this larger than life WWE Superstar. Also, it’s your dad. I said to Cody, ‘I want you by Brodie’s side throughout this if you’re okay with it, if it’s too much, please by all means tell me. I’m not gonna be offended,’ and he’s like, ‘No, I got you. So Cody and Big E came up to the hospital, got to see Jon.
“Spears, Tyler Breeze and Spears’ wife Cassie (Royce), they’re three of our best friends, they came up to the hospital. I called them that day and was like, ‘Hey, today’s it. Sorry guys,’ and they’re like, ‘We’re in the car now.’ And I was like, ‘You don’t have to come up,’ and they’re like, ‘No, we do.'”
Amanda was asked if a funeral service was ever held. She admitted no because she did not want to risk anyone else’s health during this time. She stated that the Celebration of Life episode of Dynamite was his funeral, and she praised the tribute video that played at the end.
“We didn’t because of COVID, and after being in the hospital with him and knowing he didn’t have COVID but knowing ECMO is how they treat patients with COVID and seeing the devastation. I was like, we can’t do this,” Huber admitted. “So his AEW Celebration of Life, that was his funeral. The outpouring of love from the wrestling community has been unreal. The amount of people from every corner of the wrestling world have reached out to me and had their stories about Jon.
“It’s been kind of breathtaking to hear these stories and hear how he touched people, and I would have loved to have done a funeral, but I can’t risk anybody else’s health. The AEW show that was put on, that was his send-off and that was his funeral, and that was our way of saying goodbye to him. I cried the day he passed when I saw the nurses actually, and I didn’t cry at all all day at TV.
“Was fine and Jess had actually texted me the night before, and she’s like, ‘Hey, I finished the tribute video. Do you want to watch it?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m good. I trust you.’ So then I’m standing in the ring and watching that tribute was the first time I watched it. I don’t know if it was actually ever shown, but I broke. I walked in the back, and I saw Jess. And I was like, ‘You can go f**k yourself.’ She’s like, ‘Wait, wait, are you mad?’ I was like, ‘No, it was perfect and beautiful.'”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.