2018 has been a rough year for former WWE talent, and the company has seen quite a few passings of notable people in the organization's history. Just a little over a week after news broke that wrestling superstar Vader had passed, it's been reported that the winner of Tough Enough Season 3 and former WWE employee Matt Cappotelli has died at 38. Cappotelli's wife reported the performer passed away early Friday morning with his cause of death linked to his ongoing struggle with brain cancer.
As mentioned, Matt Cappotelli first came into the lives of WWE fans through the reality series Tough Enough, where he won a WWE contract alongside wrestler John Morrison. Cappotelli went on to have some appearances on Monday Night Raw, Sunday Night Heat, and WWE Velocity and was eventually sent to the company's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling to continue to polish his skills to be a big talent in the company. Cappotelli's run in OVW proved promising, but was cut short in 2006 when he learned he had brain cancer. Cappotelli would surrender the OVW Heavyweight Championship and undergo surgery to attempt to remove the tumor that May.
The surgery would prove successful and, after some time away, Matt Cappotelli found his way back into the WWE. Comicbook reported the company welcomed back Cappotelli in a behind-the-scenes role in which he served as the OVW's trainer for their beginner's program. Cappotelli would celebrate years of good health up until 2017, when his brain cancer resurfaced. Cappotelli would again have surgery to attempt to remove the tumor, but would later find out from doctor's the cancer was terminal. In May of this year, Cappotelli's wife Lindsay would inform fans that Matt had declined to undergo further medical treatment.
Matt Cappotelli's death was mourned by several prominent WWE superstars of his era, including his fellow Tough Enough Season 3 winner John Morrison. Morrison memorialized the man he would call his first best friend in the business, and say the wrestler influenced his career greatly:
Other superstars like Taz, Shelton Benjamin, The Miz, Ryback, Tommy Dreamer and others that were around for the Tough Enough era would all pay homage to the wrestler and talk about his kindness and bravery in the face of a frightening illness. WWE would also acknowledge Cappotelli's passing on their social media and share the video from his winning the reality competition. Outside of the wrestling world, Cappotelli was mourned by others who were inspired by his public chronicling of his fight against cancer, and his advocacy towards encouraging others in the same position to keep fighting.
CinemaBlend would like to offer its condolences to the family of Matt Cappotelli and wish them well during this hard time.