Following the unfortunate and untimely death of ever-popular Twitch streamer Byron ‘Reckful’ Bernstein, many of the top personalities across streaming and esports have paid their respects.
Reckful’s passing was confirmed on Thursday, July 2, 2020 by his ex-girlfriend, BlueGoesMew. The streaming legend sadly took his own life after an open, ongoing battle with mental health issues.
There’s no doubt that Reckful touched the lives of many, as both a competitor and streamer. During his competing days, Byron was arguably one of the greatest World of Warcraft players to touch the game. He finished rank one online for six successive seasons, was the first player to reach a 3000 rating in the game, and placed 2nd, 2nd, and 1st in the three WoW MLG Pro Circuit tournaments he attended in 2010.
His streaming and online personality was where Bernstein really excelled, though, as evidenced through the tributes that came out. He always came across as someone that simply wanted to do the right thing: while his streams were fun, and the skill was evidently there, he would always be just as much a friend as an entertainer.
In the early 2010s, Byron was just about untouchable when it came to livestreaming. He would often be the most-viewed channel on Twitch and, later on, helped bolster the IRL streaming revolution thanks to his Pokemon Go streams. Through it all, he came across as a kind person who simply wanted good things for himself and those around him, be it his family or his fans.
Reckful’s open struggle with depression and mental health issues, in an attempt to remove the stigma surrounding it, appeared to make a huge impact on so many of his fans, as became painfully clear when the news started to break.
The most telling symbol of just how much Reckful meant came from within World of Warcraft itself, the game from which he made his name, in which thousands gathered to mourn the loss of an icon in the scene.
Today we all witnessed not only the largest in-game memorial but also the largest in-game player-driven event in the history of World of Warcraft
In times like this it's easy to think of the evil that people are capable of but we can't forget the purity and kindness as well. pic.twitter.com/5mzOSZrM3Z
— Zack (@Asmongold) July 3, 2020
Asmongold said it was “not only the largest in-game memorial,” but also “the largest in-game player-driven event in the history of World of Warcraft,” an incredible testament to what Reckful achieved and how many lives he touched.
Outside of the game, streamers and top personalities commented in droves.
Fellow streamer Jake’n’Bake said that ”Only a few legends ever existed on Twitch” but that “Reckful was one of them.”
Only a few legends ever existed on Twitch
Reckful was one of them
Inspiration for so many, and for myself
Rest In Peace @Byron ❤️
Thanks for the tea last year.. it meant more to me than you know. I felt like you finally accepted me as your friend
I find myself frozen rn..
— Jake'n'Bake @ LA ?? (@jakenbakeLIVE) July 2, 2020
Similarly, xQc said that Byron was a “huge inspiration” to him and he “changed streaming forever.”
Byron was an huge inspiration in many ways for me and and a lot of people/streamer. He changed streaming forever, we're going to miss him so much.
— xQc (@xQc) July 2, 2020
Twitch themselves even paid tribute to Reckful, calling him a “pioneer” who changed the communities he was involved in “forever” thanks to his “relentless pursuit of excellence.”
Rest in peace, Reckful.https://t.co/dyRnzfMLU3 pic.twitter.com/Va9Ybyc94Q
— Twitch (@Twitch) July 2, 2020
WoW and variety content streamer Esfand pleaded with people to remember the fun times and smiles shared with Byron, be it on-stream or off.
Found this picture of the last time Reckful came to my house and we were playing with my green screen.
As sad of a day as it may be, let’s remember the smiles and fun times @Byron shared with so many others over the years, both on stream and off pic.twitter.com/mKAtQr5zXw
— Esfand (@EsfandTV) July 3, 2020
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Long-time friend AriaSaki shared a hilarious and heartbreaking thread of moments she shared with Byron, detailing just how fun, fair, and kind of a person he was.
Byron; a thread that shows the joy and silliness the time I got to spend as one of his best friends. I have a lot I want to say. When you didn't respond to me right away at 8am, I was hoping to hear from you waking up. I need more time. For now please enjoy these moments with me: pic.twitter.com/mlIqDTjno2
— Aria (@AriaSaki) July 2, 2020
What is most prevalent from the outpouring of support, though, is not how much Reckful inspired generations of streamers – which he did – but who he was as a person, as a friend and as an advocate for the betterment of mental health awareness and treatment.
Chance ‘Sodapoppin’ Morris said that at times, Reckful was “the best person to be with,” adding that he “deserved so much better than this.”
Byron u deserved better. Life is not fair. You were at times the best person to spend time with, u deserved…so much better than this. U were and always will be a legend in my life so in that way you'll never die. RIP.
— Chance Morris (@Sodapoppintv) July 2, 2020
GreekGodx said that Byron helped in his incredible weight loss journey, simply saying that the late star “changed my life.”
Byron helped me lose weight. He changed my life. Thanks for everything. I love you and i will miss you for the rest of my life. pic.twitter.com/nYay3QzULH
— Dimitri (@Greekgodx) July 3, 2020
Golden Guardians WoW player pikaboo called Reckful an icon and inspiration, saying that he “gave people hope.”
Reckful was an icon and an inspiration to myself and every person I know in the gaming world. He gave people hope and showed people it was possible to make a career out of doing something that they loved.
Rest In Peace Byron ❤️
— J Smit (@pikaboowow) July 2, 2020
Call of Duty and World of Warcraft host, Rich Campbell, said that Byron’s legacy “will never die” and that “there are countless ways he changed our communities for the better.”
Byron inspired countless people and invited us in to his life.
His legacy will never die, there are countless ways he changed our communities for the better. I’ll always remember him as a legend
Rest In Peace
— Rich Campbell (@RichWCampbell) July 2, 2020
His older brother, Gary, asked for fans and friends to share their stories with him, with a multitude of responses showing just how many lives Reckful touched.
My baby brother Byron @reckful is gone. RIP. He left in a similar way as my older brother Guy. I’ve no siblings left.
If you have stories and pictures of him, please share them. pic.twitter.com/11sNZkNxFy
— Gary Bernstein ? (@Gary_Bernstein) July 2, 2020
Needless to say, the list goes on and on. You need only search his name on social media to see the hundreds of thousands of posts that have been made to pay respect to a true legend of streaming and the communities in which he invested his time.
There are very few people that could reach as far and wide as Reckful did, but the overwhelming response from fans and friends the world over is that he was nothing short of a great person who will always be remembered fondly.
From us at Dexerto, we can only hope that those closest to Reckful get the respect and closure they need as we extend our sincerest condolences. He was a pioneer and an icon whose work will never be forgotten.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, or know anyone that is, and you would like to talk to someone, please reach out and call the Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (USA) or the Samaritans 116-123 (UK).