Brian Knighton, best known as Extreme Championship Wrestling’s Axl Rotten, died on February 4th. He was found dead in a McDonald’s bathroom, according to the Baltimore Sun.
When police arrived, they found Knighton on the floor with the infant changing table down. On the table was a broken and burnt tablespoon and drug paraphernalia. There was a pill bottle with capsules in the bathroom, too, which police suspect was heroin. At the time of his death, however, police were unable to announce a clear cause of death.
We can now confirm that Axl Rotten died of an accidental drug overdose. He was 44 years old.
Wrestling professionally is extremely tough on the body, and though Rotten was only in his 40s, his body was weak as his career nearly destroyed his back. According to an online fundraising page, doctors told him that he would require two surgeries on his back or he may be confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.
After hearing this news, a fundraising page was set up to pay for the surgery, and in the plea for donations, it was stated that he was clean and sober. The campaign ended in August 2015, but there were no donations.
The WWE, which owns Extreme Championship Wrestling, made a statement about the death:
"WWE is saddened to learn of reports that Brian Knighton, best known for competing in ECW as Axl Rotten from 1993 to 1999, has passed away. WWE extends its condolences to Knighton's family, friends and fans."
Knighton, who continued to tweet as Axl Rotten, left a haunting tweet to his 16,000 followers on the day of his death:
The way I do things may not be the way you do things but you will find out there is only 1 way. My away! #AxlsTruth— AXL ROTTEN (@AxlRottenECW) February 4, 2016
What is most chilling about this tweet is that fans of Rotten noted that something was out of place with his posting.
We, at PopWrapped, send condolences to Knighton’s family and fans.