Former World Wrestling Entertainment performer Lance Cade died early Friday of heart failure.

Cade, 29, whose real name was Lance McNaught, reportedly had experienced breathing problems before being rushed to a hospital Tuesday night. He passed out at one point, according to reports, but was revived in the hospital. He reportedly asked to be released on Wednesday and didn't return.

Cade was under contract for WWE from March 2003 until he was released in October 2008. He returned to Florida Championship Wrestling, WWE's developmental territory, in September 2009, and was released in April.

Cade was a member of former WWE great Shawn Michaels' first training class, along with future stars Bryan Danielson, Brian Kendrick and Paul London, and joined WWE's developmental system shortly after finishing training and working for a promotion run by Michaels in San Antonio.

Cade was brought to the main roster in 2003 to team with Mark Jindrak.

His most successful run in WWE was as part of a team with Trevor Murdoch in 2008, enjoying a short run as WWE tag-team champs, and as a second of Chris Jericho during a high-profile program with Michaels.

Cade, who battled prescription drug issues during his career, was released from the company following an incident on board an airplane where he suffered a seizure that was believed to be due to the use of painkillers or muscle relaxers. The plane was diverted as a life-saving measure, and WWE released him shortly thereafter.

He re-signed with the company in September 2009, and completed a 30-day rehab program in February. He was released in April.

Cade's most recent wrestling activity included a stint this year with All Japan Pro Wrestling. He was scheduled to team with another former WWE performer, Rene Dupree, on a show Aug. 29 at Tokyo's Sumo Hall against Akebono and Taiyo Kea.

"No words will be good enough. One of my boys is gone," Michaels posted on his Twitter page. "My prayers and thoughts have already been given to his family and will continue. Goodbye, Lance, I love you. I ask that all of you would lift his family up in prayer."

Cade leaves behind a wife, two daughters and a stepson.

Reach Mike Mooneyham at (843) 937-5517 or mooneyham@postandcourier.com.