Twitch veteran and former esports pro Byron 'Reckful' Bernstein passed away on July 2 after taking his own life.
Reckful was an instantly-recognizable face in the Twitch community, drawing in thousands of viewers every time he went live on the Amazon-owned platform. The 31-year-old was best known for his World of Warcraft prowess, making a name for himself as a former pro player on the Blizzard title.
Fans grew concerned for Bernstein's wellbeing after a number of tweets were posted to his official Twitter account early on July 2. In the messages, Reckful expressed that he felt bad for those around him who he felt had to deal with his mental health, and stated that he felt he was not in control of the things he did.
"I feel bad for anyone who has to deal with my insanity," he wrote, shortly after publicly proposing to ex-girlfriend BeccaTilts. "Please just know in these situations the insane person does not feel in control of their actions."
please just know in these situations the insane person does not feel in control of their actions
— Reckful (@Byron) July 2, 2020
Just hours later, his ex-girlfriend BlueGoesMew confirmed the worst fears of many, tweeting that she had been having a panic attack for an hour, saying: "Yes, it's him. He's gone."
I’ve been having a panic attack for an hour. I don’t know what to do.
— Blue (@BlueGoesMew) July 2, 2020
The news was then confirmed by fellow streamer Nymn, who tweeted that Blue's Twitter account had not been compromised, and he had spoken to Bernstein's roommate as well.
"No, Blue's twitter account isn't hacked & Byron's roommate has confirmed it," the Swede tweeted. "It is true. F**k everything about this year."
No, Blue's twitter account isn't hacked & Byron's room mate has confirmed it.
It is true.
Fuck everything about this year
— NymN (@nymnion) July 2, 2020
Reckful's World of Warcraft achievements are storied. He finished rank one for six seasons in a row and was the first player to reach 3000 rating. He also won MLG's WoW tournament in 2010, held in Washington DC. After this, he naturally transitioned to Hearthstone, and came second place at BlizzCon’s 2013 Invitational.
On Twitch, he was known as a variety streamer, entertaining his audience of 936,000 followers with broadcasts such as cooking, IRL and gaming. The American had previously been open about his struggles with depression, appearing on Harvard psychiatrist Dr Alok Kanojia's stream back in December 2019.
Following the news of his passing, tributes poured online from friends, fellow streamers, and viewers. "Heartbroken. Still in shock, I've dreaded that this day could possibly come," famed streamer Andy Milonakis wrote. "RIP Byron, I love you."
Heartbroken. Still in shock, I've dreaded that this day could possibly come. RIP Byron, I love you
— Andy Milonakis (@andymilonakis) July 2, 2020
"Only a few legends ever existed on Twitch. Reckful was one of them. Inspiration for so many, and for myself," IRL streamer Jake'n'Bake said. "Rest In Peace, Byron."
"RIP Reckful. Absolutely floored. Man is and will always be an absolute legend," Saqib 'LIRIK' Zahid tweeted.
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
RIP Reckful. Absolutely floored. Man is and will always be an absolute legend.
— Lirik (@LIRIK) July 2, 2020
"Byron was an huge inspiration in many ways for me and and a lot of people/streamers," Felix 'xQc' Lengyel said. "He changed streaming forever, we're going to miss him so much."
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
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), the Samaritans 116-123 (UK), or Lifeline 13-11-14 (AUS).