Chris Candido was a great wrestler that had so much more to give the wrestling world. He was just getting his career back on track after beating his addictions and re-starting his marriage. He was looking to be a main event player once again when tragedy struck.
On April 28, 2005, Candido was rushed to the hospital after feeling ill all day. He collapsed in the evening and was pronounced dead shortly after. His brother Johnny said he died due to a blood clot that had complication from surgery he had had just a few days prior.
He had broken his tibia and fibula at Lockdown on April 24 during a steel cage match with Lance Hoyt and Apolo. He then underwent surgery to have titanium plates and screws inserted into his leg. He reportedly was doing fine until he began to feel ill.
Candido made his debut on March 19, 2000 at WCW Uncensored on commentary during a Cruiserweight Championship match between The Artist and Psychosis. His in-ring debut was the following night on Monday Nitro in Gainesville, Florida where he defeated Lash LaRoux with a headbutt off the top rope. He formed a short-lived faction with Tom Brandi, Flex Lavender and Darren Wyse known as the Bodydonnas. They would lose a six man tag match to Chavo Guerrero and Sunny in Thunder the next night.
Despite his in-ring success, Candido struggled in the backstage area. His personal life took a turn for the worse when he began using heroin. His addiction issues resurfaced and his once solid marriage started to fall apart. He even turned to alcohol for some relief.
The death of Candido was a shock to the wrestling world. He had so much more to give and was so young. His passing was a tragic reminder that the good die young. His funeral was attended by many big names in the business including Dixie Carter, Jeff Jarrett, Howard Finkel, Jeremy Borash, Bobby Ryder and a number of TNA wrestlers such as Shane Douglas, Billy Gunn, Scott D’Amore and Sonny Siaki. During the service one of his NWA tag team belts was draped over his casket.
Candido’s passing still affects the wrestling industry to this day. AEW star Eddie Kingston has posted an Instagram tribute to Candido calling him “one of the nicest guys in the business outside and inside of the ring.” It is great to see that people still remember Candido, even years after his death. He will be missed by everyone that knew him. Rest in peace.