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FORMER WWE TOUGH ENOUGH WINNER MATT CAPPOTELLI PASSES AWAY

By Mike Johnson on 2018-06-29 18:36:00

It is being reported in the local media in Lousiville, Kentucky media that former WWE Tough Enough winner and Ohio Valley Wrestling Champion Matt Cappotelli passed away today following his most recent battle with cancer.    Cappotelli was only 38 years old.

Cappotelli's wife Lindsay first announced his passing, writing, "Hey Team Capp...I’ve been struggling with what to say and how to say this, and I’ll probably end up rambling, but here goes. Today my love-my strong, sweet, beautiful love-took his last breath at 3:30 a.m. and went Home to be with Jesus...exactly one year after his brain surgery. You think you can be prepared for this when you know it’s coming, but you just can’t. The only person who’s comfort I want right now is the one who can’t give it to me. I miss him so much. I know where he is now is so much better, but it doesn’t change how much I miss him."

Cappotelli and John Hennigan (Morrison, Mundo, Impact, etc.) won the third season of the WWF Tough Enough reality series on MTV, earning WWE developmental contracts.  Although Cappotelli made several appearances on WWE TV, including taking part in an APA Invitational Brawl, he spent the majority of his time in then-WWE developmental Ohio Valley Wrestling.

Following a February 2006 OVW taping where he was believed to  have suffered a concussion, Cappotelli went to the local hospital to get checked out, only to discover he had been afflicted with Astrocytoma, a form of brain cancer.  He immediately retired, relinquishing the OVW Heavyweight Championship and began battling the disease.  The battle was successful with Cappotelli's remission being officially announced by WWE in May 2007.

While Cappotelli would never return to the ring as a performer, he took over a beginner's class in OVW and helped trained talents.  He also worked outside the business in different fitness and gyms outlets.  He got married and remained, by all accounts, one of the most positive people ever involved in professional wrestling, beloved by everyone who encountered him.   There was a legitimate love for him among those in the business and a lot of respect for him because despite everything life threw at him, Cappotelli's positive attitude never waved.  More than one person who knew him from OVW told me that of everyone they ever met, Cappotelli was the least deserving of what he endured over the course of his life health-wise. 

Cappotelli was in remission for a decade, but it was announced that his brain cancer had returned in June 2017.  A month later, the news was sadder as it was announced that Cappotelli had been diagnosed with a Grade 4 glioblastoma tumor, the most deadly form of the disease.  Worse, this time, only 90% of the tumor was able to be removed as the remainder was too close to his brain stem for it to even be operable.   Cappotelli's diagnosis at the time was terminal, but he refused to back down, wearing a device known as The Optune, which looked like a swimming cap but was actually sending pulses to the brain to help prevent cancer cells from dividing correctly, causing them to die as they divided, theoretically preventing growth.  Cappotelli wore the device every day, 18 hours a day. 

However, this past May, Lindsay Cappotelli announced that Matt was discontinuing treatments after consulting with his neuro-oncologist.  At that point, sadly, it was just a matter of time and a number of other OVW alumni regularly visited Cappotelli to pay their respects and see him again.  

On behalf of everyone associated with PWInsider.com, we'd like to express our deepest condolences to Cappotelli's family, friend and family.  He leaves behind a hell of an inspirational legacy, having never backed down ever during the fight for his life.

For more on how you can support Cappotelli' family, donate to an ongoing GoFundMe campaign by clicking here.

To check out WDRB-TV's coverage of Cappotelli's passing, click here. 

Thanks to Ken McAndrew.

The remainder of this post will be updated with additional tributes to Cappotelli from those in and around the professional wrestling world:

 

 

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