Steve Keirn shared the news today, February 14, that long-time WWE and WCW referee Mickie Henson — who was also known as Mickie Jay — had been taken off life support, and passed away Monday evening. He was 60. It was reported that COVID-related pneumonia was the cause, though he had battled cancer for almost 15 years.
On Facebook, Keirn’s nephew, Vince Ross shared the news on Keirn’s page:
I’m broken hearted that today I had to see my best friend Mick be taken off life support. I was his friend for 40 years. His family became the pro wrestling business and he loved it. This was a great man, a friend who called me weekly to just say “Hey Pal just checking on you.” I have lost so many friends in the last two years the pain is knowing they are gone.
I truly believe he is in heaven he loved Jesus and when he accepted his award at the CAC 2018 he started his speech with acknowledging his Lord and savior was Jesus. I was so very proud of him getting the award but more proud of him saying that. I will always love him as my brother in Christ. Rest In Peace Pal
Henson’s career is detailed in depth in a 2018 article, before he was honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club, with the Charlie Smith Referee Award — Mickie Henson’s career — and life — hardly a quick 1-2-3. It also details so many of the health challenges that he went through, especially battling cancer.
In short, he was a taken to the AWA matches by his grandfather, and became a fan who befriended the wrestlers in Moline, Illinois, and that was his entry into the business. Steve Keirn was key to all that happening.
“Mick became a referee, and boom, his thing was history from there,” said Keirn in a 2018 interview, adding how he helped Henson along the way. “He wanted to work for WWE, and they had taken a lot of the guys from WCW, but they didn’t take Mick. John Laurinaitis said, ‘Tell him to lose some weight’ because he was too fat. So I got on Mick about losing weight, he lost like 90 pounds, he looked great. John hired him and he did really good. He’d come from WCW so he had the experience and he was a great referee but it goes back to why he was — he was a great referee because he wasn’t just collecting a paycheck. He was a great referee because he loved what he did and he tried to give it his best. That’s what really makes talent and referees is having pride in what you do, and also the respect for the business, you care for it and you protect it. Not just go out there and say, ‘Ah, there’s not that many people out here tonight, I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to lay down. Cover me, 1-2-3. This is over.’ You’ve just got to be willing to put yourself out sometimes when it’s least expected.”
At the CAC event, in April 2018 in Las Vegas, Henson was brief. He thanked God and Jesus, and told the story of how he was told in 2008 that he had six months to live.
“Please forgive me, because I never did promos, so I’m kind of nervous,” he said.
Henson thanked Steve Keirn, and looked around the room: “I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best minds in this business, the best storytellers. Pat Patterson, Jerry Brisco … Dusty Rhodes, Gordon Solie was my friend.”
He thanked WWE, which helped with much of his medical expenses, and concluded: “I want to say thanks to the friends I’ve met, the lifelong relationships, the memories, and tonight brings it full circle.”
Henson was not married, and had no children. He lived in Key West, Florida, and loved to fish and see live music, often invited many friends from the wrestling business down to hang out. Henson was also active on Facebook, and enjoyed sharing photos of friends, music events he attended, memes, and, especially wrestling.
Funeral arrangements are not known at this time.