WWII Veteran of 101st Airborne Division of the US Army (Easy Company) has sadly passed away at the age of 90. The South Philly native was a true hero and badass in WWII, and his time in the War was documented in the Stephen Ambrose book Band of Brothers. Band of Brothers went on to become one of the best things HBO has ever broadcasted, and it’s something I have to watch at least once a year. Wild Bill was played by Frank John Hughes in the series and after the mini-series was over, Guarnere and Hughes became friends and kept in contact. Guarnere was best buddies with another Philly resident, Babe Heffron. They wrote a book together (with the help of Robyn Post) in 2007 called Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story. I highly recommend reading that! Heffron recently passed away as well. Even though Guarnere and Heffron won’t accept that they were heroes, they are certainly heroes in my mind. Currahee!
William “Wild Bill” Guarnere (gahr-NAYR), one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries “Band of Brothers,” has died at the age of 90.
Guarnere’s son, William Guarnere Jr., confirmed Sunday that his father died at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Guarnere was rushed to the hospital early Saturday and died of a ruptured aneurysm early Saturday night.
The HBO miniseries was based on a book by Stephen Ambrose and followed the members of Easy Company from training in Georgia in 1942 through the war’s end in 1945. Guarnere’s combat exploits earned him the nickname Wild Bill and he lost a leg trying to help a wounded solider.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete.
Here’s some reactions to the death of William Guarnere:
I’ve lost my hero and my friend. Knowing him made me a better man and playing him was the greatest honor of my life. pic.twitter.com/8lvLzsUhaz
— Frank John Hughes (@frankjhughes) March 9, 2014
This boy did his part in saving the world. Now, he joins the heroes. God speed you, Wild Bill… Hanx http://t.co/N4gPe11uJg
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) March 9, 2014
May you rest peaceful, Wild Bill Guarnere. There will never be another like you. Honored for the memories & friendship. You will be missed.
— James Madio (@JamesMadio) March 9, 2014
RIP Bill Guarnere Another Easy Company hero has passed away. God bless you Bill. A true American hero. pic.twitter.com/p9CrJMC1ZL
— kirk acevedo (@kirkacevedo) March 9, 2014
Bill. Rest up, pal. #bandofbrothers
— Ross McCall (@maccageezer) March 9, 2014