Gay professional wrestler Chris Kanyon is dead in apparent suicide; Kanyon was part of Northern Kentucky University’s National Coming Out Day in 2006Apr 4th, 2010 | By Tony Begley, Contributor and Literary Editor | Category: Around the Commonwealth, Kentucky Guardian News
Former professional wrestler Chris Kanyon (real name Chris Klucsaritis) is dead at 40. His body was found Saturday at his apartment in Queens, New York. Kanyon had overdosed on medication, with early reports indicating he had taken his own life after leaving a pill bottle and several notes close by.
Kanyon ascended to elite superstar status in professional wrestling before retiring from World Wrestling Entertainment in 2004 using the the ring names Chris Kanyon (or simply Kanyon), Mortis, and Darkbird.
In 2006, Kanyon alleged the World Wrestling Entertainment released him because he was gay, a statement he later recanted, saying he was really straight.
However, Kanyon later acknowledged he was gay, visiting students in Northern Kentucky in October 2006 during National Coming Out Day. Kentucky Equality Federation paid for accommodations for the wrestler to speak at Northern Kentucky University in cooperation with Common Ground, NKU’s gay-straight alliance.
Kanyon told students at Northern Kentucky University about his internal struggle admitting he was gay, which he said ended his professional career in wrestling.
Kanyon later told the Washington Blade he enjoyed his visit to Northern Kentucky University, and urged the audience to be true to themselves. Kanyon also told the audience that he was bipolar and was suicidal at one point in his life because he was a closeted gay man who couldn’t deal with being gay.
Kanyon’s official MySpace page has been turned into a tribute/memorial site.
James William “Jim” Ross a professional wrestling commentator with World Wrestling Entertainment released this statement:
“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Chris Kanyon who was found dead this weekend in his apartment in Queens, New York. The death is being investigated as a suicide as those close to Chris say that he has been battling depression for quite some time.
Chris abruptly retired from wrestling and then also declared that he was a gay American which were both major developments in his life. I never knew Chris lead an alternative life style when he was with WWE for a few years not that it would have made any difference to me one way or another.
Chris was an innovative wrestler who always sought new maneuvers and holds to utilize in his matches and was a really good teacher and helped many of today’s stars with a variety of in ring techniques. Chris was a guy who seemingly wanted to be a pro wrestler most of his life and embraced the fact that he made it but obviously had issues after leaving the ring.
Chris Kanyon will always be considered an underrated star in my eyes and I sincerely wish his many friends and his family our heartfelt condolences during these challenging and heartbreaking times.”