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May 9, 2005 Observer Newsletter: Death of Chris Candido


Because wrestlers die so frequently, there are a lot of ways you come to expect them. You expect years of heavy steroid and cocaine use to lead to heart attacks of guys in their 40s. You expect overdoses. In the 70s, you'd have the auto accidents. There's even cancer and internal organ problems that could happen to anyone. And there are the occasional drug and other forms of depression induced suicides.

"It's so baffling," Mick Foley said. "The last thing you expect to hear is someone dying from complications of a broken ankle."

The strange part is with Chris Candito (real spelling, changed to Candido for pro wrestling), had it been two years ago, for several of the above reasons, his death would not have really shocked anyone. Like Eddie Gilbert, Brian Pillman and Kerry Von Erich, Candido and Tammy Sytch--you can't bring up one without the other because their lives were so entangled--for years, seemed to be a tragedy waiting to happen. For years, both were like drug addicts in denial. They would give lip service to recovery and talk publicly about their issues as if they were in the past. After so many relapses, they were thought like Scott Hall and Jake Roberts, where you actually become surprised their bodies continue to survive all the abuse, even if their internal organs are decades older than their chronological age. So when, over the past year, Candido said he was clean, most were skeptical. But he was showing up at indies for months, with no stories about relapses, incoherency, or the classic signs most wrestling veterans see when someone is on the pills. He had a hard reputation to live down, but he largely had.

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