THE British wrestler who died aged 36 had escaped death just five years ago after breaking his neck in the ring.
Adrian “Lionheart” McCallum was told he should have been dead after his neck snapped in two places in 2014 – with the determined Scot working his way back to become the reigning ICW (Insane Championship Wrestling) world heavyweight champion.
Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum died at the age of just 36[/caption]
But in a cruel twist of fate, the wrestler was found dead this week.
His cause of death is unknown.
The Scot grappler had just last year opened up about the moment he was told he might never walk again after being injured in a match against American superstar AJ Styles.
He told The Sun at the time: “In all honesty I was told at the time I should be dead.
“When they looked at photos of what actually happened and the physicality of the move they don’t know how I got up from that.
“I didn’t think I was dying but I couldn’t feel anything from the neck down and assumed it was all over — but at hospital I slowly started to get feeling in my arms and legs again.
“The doctors told me I’d broken my neck in two places so I asked if I’d walk again and they said they didn’t know.”
In all honesty I was told at the time I should be dead
Then 32, Adrian had taken his opponent’s finishing move, the Styles Clash, and thrown his head back as he was tackled – crashing onto his head.
But he revealed he was never fully beaten by his horrific injuries – with his name catapulted into global wrestling.
He went on to star on a host of popular shows including WWE and TNA and was one of the UK’s most famous wrestlers.
Speaking just a year before his death, he said: “I was told not to come back to wrestling after the injury.
“But it’s been a good journey and I’m glad I’ve had that length of time where I’ve had to go through so much.”
The wrestling world was last night left devastated as the news of the Scotsman’s death was released.
‘BREAKS MY HEART’
And tributes came flooding in for the promising boxer – who had posted a haunting last message online.
Adrian tweeted: “One day you will eat your last meal, you will smell your last flower, you will hug your friend for the last time.
“You might not know it’s the last time, that’s why you must do everything you love with passion.”
His message – a direct quote from Ricky Gervais’ hit Netflix comedy After Life – was posted on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) announced the tragic news on their official page last night.
Fellows wrestling stars paid tribute to the star.
WWE superstar Paige tweeted her tribute, and remembered another tragic British wrestler Kris Travis, who died of stomach cancer in 2016.
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.”
Thank you for everything you done for the British wrestling scene… but more importantly for being our pal
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.
“I may not have known him very well but he was one of the first people to welcome me with open arms when I took my first tour to the U.K. #RIP Lionheart.”
Pete Dunne, the longest-reigning WWE UK champion, tweeted: “I always looked up to Lionheart’s professional approach to wrestling when it was far from that at the time.
“People like him were pivotal in the growth of a scene that has lead to so many people being able to do this for a living.”
British wrestler Will Ospreay, who fights in Japan, said: “Every time I’ve met you, you have been nothing but a sweetheart. I honestly cannot believe I’m writing this tweet.
“Devastated doesn’t cover how I feel.”
Grado wrote: “Love you my brother. The Champ. RIP @LionheartUK – we will never ever forget you. Thank you for everything you done for the British wrestling scene… but more importantly for being our pal.”
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The ICW said: “We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of ICW World Heavyweight Champion, Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum.
“Adrian was a mainstay of ICW and British professional wrestling. Most importantly, he was our friend.
“His passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of those who knew him. Please respect his family’s privacy at this time.”
His cause of death is not yet known.
He was the current Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) heavyweight world champion[/caption]
The wrestler had worked his way back from breaking his neck to becoming one of the best[/caption]
He was the current heavyweight world champion[/caption]