The death of another young man has exposed pro wrestling’s darkest reality adding another name to the list of stars who didn’t make it to 40.
WWE stars Drew McIntyre and Paige led the way with heartwarming tributes to their friend who just passed away.
Since then, tributes have been pouring in for the British wrestling star and reigning Champion passed away today at the age of 36.
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Wrestling hero Adrian “Lionheart” McCallum took his own life months after he tried to save a teenage neighbour from a fatal house fire. Lionheart had been a top wrestler for the last 10 years.
He appeared on a host of popular shows including WWE and TNA and was one of the UK’s most famous wrestlers. WWE superstar Paige tweeted her tribute, and remembered another tragic British wrestler Kris Travis, who died of stomach cancer in 2016.
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The former wrestler — real name Saraya-Jade Bevis — wrote: “Breaks my heart. RIP my friend. You were always so wonderful to me and I’ll be forever grateful that I knew you. Give Trav a big hug from me.”
WWE wrestler Cedric Alexander said he was “crushed” to hear of McCallum’s death. He tweeted: “I’m crushed to hear the passing of Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum.” Sadly the man who used the Lionheart moniker, as did a young Chris Jericho, is just the latest wrestler to have passed away at a young age.
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From superstars who have dropped dead from heart attacks in their 30s to others who have killed themselves, the industry is rife with tragedy. Death rates for wrestlers aged between 45 and 54 are a shocking 2.9 times greater than those for average men, a US study found
They’re also higher than those for athletes in many sports — but why do so many professional wrestlers seem to be cursed with dying young, when they should be in the prime of their life?
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Experts believe a range of factors are to blame — including the often rampant steroid, drug and alcohol abuse of previous decades and the psychological impact of life constantly on the road.
Another suggested factor is the lack of an official ‘off-season’ in professional wrestling, which means stars can end up getting back in the ring before healing from their injuries.
Gary Bloom, Harley Street psychotherapist, told The Sun online that wrestling several times a week, without a proper rest, can cause serious health issues. He explained how overstimulation of the limbic system — the part of the brain where the ‘fight or flight’ response begins — for long periods of time “does not do you very good”.
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“That amount of adrenaline in your system can damage your organs,” he says. “In comparison, footballers play just 90 minutes then have three or four days off.” The cause of Scottish legend McCallum’s death is unknown but as he joins the list of superstars gone too soon.
We reveal more wrestling greats who tragically died while still at their peak:
Eddie Guerrero was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. It turned out he’d suffered acute heart failure aged just 38. Yokozuna was initially reported to have died from heart failure, before the actual cause of death was revealed.
Owen Hart: The self-proclaimed “King of Harts” and brother of Bret “Hitman” Hart died aged just 34 after falling from the roof of the Kemper Arena due to a cable malfunction during a live televised pay-per-view in May 1999.
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Brian Pillman had passed away from a congenital heart condition. Kris Travis revealed the cancer had returned and he passed away in March 2016 aged just 32, two months after marrying his longtime girlfriend.
Crash Holly died aged 32 in November 2003, with a post-mortem report ruling he had killed himself after an overdose of pills, mixed with alcohol. British Bulldog — Davey Boy Smith, died on 18 May 2002, aged 39, after suffering a heart attack while on holiday in Invermere, British Columbia.
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Andrew ‘Test’ Martin was found dead in his Tampa home on March 13, 2009, four days before his 34th birthday. His death was ruled an accidental overdose of oxycodone with forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu later determining Martin had severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy — or brain damage — caused by repeated concussions and subconcussive head injuries.
Chris Kanyon sadly took his own life. He came out as gay following his release from WWE and, prior to his death, he chronicled his struggles as a closeted gay man in a book he was working on.
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