Legendary World of Warcraft pro and Twitch streamer Byron ‘Reckful’ Bernstein has died, aged 31.
The streaming and WoW communities were left shocked and saddened after learning on July 2 that Reckful had taken his own life. His ex-girlfriend confirmed the news on Twitter after fans and close friends to Reckful became concerned for his welfare following a number of troubling tweets. Reckful has been very transparent with his fans about his mental health and being bipolar. In December 2019, he notably appeared on the Healthy Gamer podcast with psychiatrist Dr Alok Kanojia, in which he opened up about his struggles with his mental health.
Reckful gained legendary status within the WoW community after finishing rank one in the game for six consecutive seasons and winning the 2010 MLG Pro Circuit tournament in Washington D.C. He is also regarded as one of one of the early pioneers of variety streaming on Twitch, and amassed over 950,000 followers on the platform. He also had close friendships with a number of other popular streamers.
There was an outpouring of condolences and messages from fellow streamers, as well as in-game tributes in World of Warcraft Classic. Thousands of players piled into servers to remember Reckful in what was – according to WoW streamer ‘Asmongold’ – the biggest player-driven event in the game’s history.
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
Prior to his death, Reckful had been working on developing his own video game, Everland. The game was scheduled to release this year, and was designed for the goal of helping people “find friendship and a sense of community.”
If you feel like you are struggling with your mental health and are experiencing suicidal thoughts, or you know someone else who is, reach out and get help by calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255) in the USA, the Samaritans (116-123) in the UK, or any of the other suicide crisis lines in your country. A full list can be found here.