Former World of Warcraft pro player and popular Twitch streamer Byron "Reckful" Bernstein died in his Austin, Texas, apartment on Thursday. He was 31.
The Twitch and World of Warcraft Twitter accounts both posted statements Thursday following the news. In World of Warcraft, hundreds of players gathered to honor Bernstein as well.
The former esports pro frequently discussed his mental health on podcasts and on his streams, where he revealed he dealt with depression and bipolar disorder.
"We're devastated to hear of Byron's passing," Twitch said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to his family, friends and community. He was a streaming pioneer and helped propel the whole industry forward. The communities he cultivated in the games he played were forever changed by his relentless pursuit of excellence.
"Byron was someone who talked about his struggles to help make room for others to do the same. As we process this loss, we have to recognize that the stigma around mental health and treatment often prevents people from seeking and getting the help they need. If you're struggling or know someone who is, there are many organizations and people who want to help."
Stormwind Cathedral - Faerlina— Quissy (@QuissyTV) July 2, 2020
Bernstein's ex-girlfriend, professional Teamfight Tactics player and streamer Rebecca "Becca" Cho, also posted on Twitter about Bernstein's death.
"I wasn't able to be there for him," Cho wrote. "He was amazing. He taught me how to have fun, to experience more, and challenged me to try to be more than what I was. He was larger than life, too big for this world.
"He brought me to realize that I knew NOTHING about depression, NOTHING about mental health issues. I had this vague idea of what it was and embarrassingly thought that I could help with trivial bulls---. We loved each other but it came with its difficulties."
Bernstein was best known for his time in World of Warcraft, where he became a top player and achieved Rank 1 online for six consecutive seasons. His online skill also converted into offline competition success, with top-three finishes in a number of Major League Gaming World of Warcraft events in 2009, and a first-place finish at MLG Washington, D.C., in October 2010.
Rest in peace, Byron "Reckful" Bernstein. pic.twitter.com/B3i4CGISx0— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) July 2, 2020
Bernstein's competitive success built him a reputation online, which he converted into a successful streaming career on Twitch. At the time of his death his channel had nearly 1 million followers and was ranked 783rd among top creators on the site, according to TwitchTracker.
Outside of his lucrative streaming career, Bernstein also led a team to create "Everland," a new 8-bit-style social online multiplayer game set to release later in 2020.