René Duprée opens up about the passing of his father Emile Duprée

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René honors his father. 

On Sunday, September 17th, the news was shared via René Duprée’s social media channels that his father, wrestler and promoter, Emile Duprée passed away at the age of 86. Emile spent 30 years of his life in the wrestling business. In addition to his in-ring career, for consecutive summers dating back to the late 70s, Emile’s Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling promotion toured the Maritimes. 

René spoke about his father’s passing on episode #117 of the Café De René livestream. He started off by expressing how grateful he is for all the support him and his family have received. René shared that over the last year, his father’s cognitive abilities began to deteriorate. Emile would often fall down in his home and René, who lives across the street with his wife, would have to run over and help his dad up. 

He added that Emile lost his vision and dealt with vertigo. The weekend of his passing, René could tell that his father suffered a stroke when he saw him. When Emile was taken to the hospital, René received a call from a doctor who told him he might want to come see his dad because he fell into a coma. The doctor relayed her professional opinion to René that Emile would not make it out of the coma. 

René’s mother stayed in the hospital overnight. The next morning, René went to the gym and after his workout, he received the call that his father passed away. 

Well, I’ve seen better days. But, death is a part of life. None of us get out of here alive, right? So… he (Emile Duprée) had a good life which we’re gonna get into, and I appreciate everybody who sent well wishes and I was overwhelmed really, Christ. Every single wrestling site picked it up and then here in Canada, we have the C.B.C., radio interviews and I’m still waiting on French television, want to come and do like a Le reportage, they call it a report… So thank you so much, it means so much to me and… yeah so, he passed away early Sunday morning. If you rewind, the last year, year-and-a-half, his cognitive ability was on the decline… He was virtually blind, he couldn’t see anything and it’s almost like eventually when we get older, we start turning back into infancy and I could see that gradually happening. He lost his license because he was permanently blind so he couldn’t see so I had to take him everywhere and he suffered from vertigo so he would often fall and thank God that we owned property right across the street from his house. That’s where me and my wife stay so it was almost like once or twice a week, I would have to run over next door and pick him up because he would fall. My mom, Christ, she’s 70 years old herself so…Well that was in his prime (Emile being 6’1). He had shrank actually. He was down to like 5’8 or 5’9 and he had dropped a significant amount of weight. He was always around the 220 mark but by the end, he was around 180, 190. But still, 180, 190 when it’s dead weight and you gotta pick it up, that’s a lot of weight. But that Friday, he fell down about four times and then on Saturday morning, I woke up, my mom called me. She says, ‘You gotta get over here right away. He can’t get out of bed.’ So I sprinted over like I usually do and then as soon as I got into the bedroom, I could tell he suffered a stroke, because his whole left side was completely paralyzed. His face was stuck like this and I could see his eyes and I was like, oh f*ck, and usually when I would pick him up, I’d pick him up, stabilize him on his feet and then he could start walking. But there was nothing this time. I picked him up and he could not walk. So, from his bedroom to the living room, you have to go across the dining room, up a flight of stairs, into the kitchen then into the living room. I literally dragged him on my shoulders, picked him up and sat him on the couch… Then we called the ambulance and they’re taking forever and when they arrived, it was two females and they weren’t strong enough to lift him and put him in the stretcher. So, I picked him up, put him on the stretcher, wheeled him out and off he went to the ambulance. About an hour later, we got a call from the doctor, said, ‘This might be it. You might wanna come see him because he just fell into a coma,’ and when we got to the hospital, he was out, and the doctor said he had suffered a major stroke. He had been complaining about headaches, you know? All the blood had been rushed to his skull, whatever and was causing pressure against his brain and that’s why he was complaining about headaches. So then I took the doctor aside, I said, ‘So he’s not gonna come out of this?’ She goes, ‘With my experience, he won’t come out of this.’ So, he stayed there overnight. My mom stayed there with him. She never left his side. Me and the wife came home and I woke up later than usual. Got to the gym for my morning cardio and it was on a Sunday so I was all by myself. Got there around 6:10. I did my usual 30 minutes and then right at 30 minutes, my wife called and she said he’s gone. He passed away around 6:15 so, I was alone in the gym on a Sunday morning, nobody else was there and I was having a good morning cardio, you know? I felt good, and sometimes things in life just happen, right? And then I got to my car, I turn on the f*cking car and on the radio, Stairway to Heaven is playing (he chuckled). Isn’t that f*cked up? Stairway to Heaven starts playing and f*cking, I’m starting to tear up now but, yeah. But he had a good life.

Looking back at his childhood, René said his greatest memories are going to shows with his mother, father and brother Jeff in the Maritimes. He reiterated that it is rough losing a parent, but his dad lived a great life. He’s glad Emile is no longer suffering. 

The greatest memories I’ve ever had growing up as a kid was my father and my mother and me and my brother riding out in the R.V. going to wrestling every night around the Maritimes. The best memories ever. Better than Japan, better than WWE. We’d have a little picnic in the afternoon then by 7, 8 o’clock, we’d hit the arenas and back then, the arenas were packed, right? Talking like, ‘87, ‘88, ‘89. I miss that. I kind of wanna have that again some day. 

But 86 years old, he had a good life and I mean, it sucks losing a parent. I don’t give a f*ck. Yes, we all know death’s a part of life. None of us make it out alive. Does it suck? Yes but, his suffering is done. Because imagine going blind and then losing the ability to walk… It would take him forever just to bring out a sentence, you know? 

With the passing of his father, the former WWE World Tag Team Champion is interested in doing a tour to honor Emile’s memory and the fun times they had as a family. He added that it’s very likely that Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling hosts a tour to celebrate the life and career of Emile Duprée.

I really wanna do it again, just to keep the memory of my father alive, just to keep the memory of his company alive and Maritime wrestling, you know? 

Yeah, that’s a high, high, high possibility. September 30th, I’ll be in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I was booked there before but now we’re gonna kind of make it as a tribute show in a way. But the idea of an actual tour all over the Maritimes, that’s definitely something that has a high probability of happening.

The list of names that have toured with Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling includes Jay Youngblood, Robert Roode, Christian Cage, André the Giant, SANADA, Sweet Daddy Siki and Edge. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Café De René with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.