7 Pro Wrestlers Beaten Down By Addiction
A battle with drug and alcohol abuse is a deadly fight, and addiction is definitely NOT a illness only the weak suffer from. Some of the world’s greatest artists, athletes and academics have struggles with crippling dependence on drugs or alcohol, and sometimes it smothers out the light of their life far before its time.
Many professional wrestlers have struggled with substance abuse, and many have lost that fight. Addiction has ended several careers, but some wrestlers were tragically beaten to death by drugs and alcohol. Here are 7 pro wrestlers beaten down by addiction.
- Kerry Gene Adkisson
The Texas Tornado, Kerry Von Erich, the Modern Day Warrior were all titles of a wrestler who won 40 various championship titles. Kerry was known as part of the Von Erich family, and wrestled as part of WCCW, World Wrestling Federation (WWF- now WWE- World Wrestling Entertainment) and NWA. Unfortunately Kerry’s career in the WWE did not go anywhere after losing the intercontinental title to Curt ˜Mr Perfect’ Hennig, and he left shortly before his death. Drugs ruined his life and ultimately paved the way for his suicide.
- Curtis Michael “Curt” Henning
Curt Hennig is an American wrestler who has been hailed as a master technician who brought an air of professionalism and credibility to wrestling.
February 10th 2003, Curt Hennig was found dead in a Florida hotel room. Tragically the wrestler was only 44 years old when he died from what was later determined to be acute cocaine intoxication.
- Gertrude Elizabeth Vachon
Under the name Luna Vachon, Gertrude was a Canadian-American pro wrestler who began in an all-womens wrestling promotion, before joining Florida Championship Wrestling and then ultimately the WWF.
The WWE attempted to get her help, but the attempt ultimately failed and on August 27th 2010 Luna’s mother found her dead at age 48 from a combination of oxycodone and benzodiazepine. Investigators found crushed pills and snorting straws all over the house.
- Andrew Robert Patrick Martin
A Canadian professional wrestler best known under the name TEST for the WWF, Martin won 6 championships, and announced his retirement after a career full of tag-team and single man wrestling titles.
But on March 13th 2009, just a few days before his 34th birthday, one of his neighbors called police who found him dead in his home from what was later determined to be an accidental overdose one the painkiller oxycodone.
5. Lance Kurtis McNaught
American pro wrestler known as Garrison Cade/Lance Cade was assigned to Memphis Championship Wrestling, and later Heartland Wrestling Association, before ending up in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in 2003, celebrated as being mentored by Shawn Michaels.
McNaught died at the age of 29 in October 2010. The coroner announced that his death was due to multiple drug intoxication that had aggravated a weak heart (cardiomyopathy), but that the death was accidental.
6. Edward Smith Fatu
Edward Smith “Umaga” Fatu was an American-Samoan wrestler who was part of the Anoa’i wrestling family. Edward Fatu was undefeated for many months in the WWE throughout much of 2006, before suffering his first defeat under the Umaga name in January 2007, but then he won the WWE Intercontinental Championship for the first time a month later.
In 2009 at age 36 Fatu was found with blood coming out of his nose after he had suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. While being treated he suffered a second heart attack, which killed him at. The cause of death was ruled as acute intoxication of hydrocodone, carisoprodol and diazepam (Valium).
- Christopher Michael “Chris” Benoit
The story of Chris Benoit is arguably the most well-known and the most tragic story on this list. Not because he was any more important than the others, or because he would’ve ended up in the Hall of Fame, but because of what drugs did to him and what happened to his family.
Many have said that Benoit’s substance abuse eventually led a tortured man to murder his family. Benoit was suffering from a brain condition that made him out of control, and in a time of desperation and drug induced illness he took the lives of his wife Nancy and their 7 year old son before hanging himself.
Benoit was found to have Xanax, hydrocodone, and an elevated level of testosterone, caused by a synthetic form of the hormone, in his system during the toxicology report, and it was noted he had drugged his family before killing them as well. He was only 40, and further investigation into the tragedy led people to believe that after years of concussions that could have damaged his brain to the point of severe dementia and depression, the drugs finally pushed him over the edge.
Regardless of physical or mental strength, addiction can get a deadly grasp on the lives of anyone who abuses drugs or alcohol. Training the mind and the body to best fight the enemy of addiction is not always an easy journey, but the right kind of teachers can make all the difference.
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