Friends and family are mourning the death of a national hero. William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, a South Philadelphia native and World War II vet who was portrayed on the television miniseries, “Band of Brothers,” died on Saturday 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.
Born in South Philadelphia on April 28, in 1923, Guarnere was a non-commissioned officer with the legendary Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II.
After enlisting in the paratroops in 1942, Guarnere joined Easy Company, earning the nickname “Wild Bill” for his daring battlefield exploits. Guarnere’s time in World War II was dramatized in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" in which he was played by actor Frank John Hughes.
"He was without a doubt one of the bravest and best soldiers in all of Easy Company. He was one of the best combat leaders not only in his company but also the division. If there was a fight going on with the 1st Platoon or 3rd Platoon, Bill would show up and leave 2nd Platoon to go help. He would 'march to the sound of gunfire.' He had no reservations and was just a fearless man in combat."
Guarnere’s time in the war ended when he lost his right leg while trying to help a wounded soldier. For his efforts during the Brecourt Manor Assault on D-Day, he earned the Silver Star. He later received two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.