Independent wrestler, deathmatch specialist, and Game Changer Wrestling star Markus Crane has passed away at the age of 33. Word of Crane’s passing was revealed on social media earlier today. Shortly after the announcement of Markus Crane’s death, Game Changer Wrestling released an official statement on Twitter, echoing what many wrestlers had already said regarding him.

“With sadness, GCW mourns the loss of Markus Crane,” the statement read. “As a performer, Markus embodied the spirit of GCW. He was an underdog and an outlaw. He was fearless in the ring and determined to succeed against the odds. He played a major role in GCW’s early success and was part of the heart and soul of our roster from day one. Markus was passionate about GCW and Deathmatch Wrestling. We were proud to have him represent GCW at Korakuen Hall during our inaugural show in Japan.

“In 2019, Markus suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly took his life. We were all inspired (but surprised) as he made a miraculous recovery and worked tirelessly to make his eventual return to the ring. Most recently, Markus returned home to his family with a committment to focusing his energy towards a healthier lifestyle. He had celebrated a series of milestones in his sobriety in which he was proud to show off and left us all excited for his future. As a friend, Markus was caring and loyal. He was quick to smile, or bring a smile to your face. We were all lucky to know him. Rest in Peace, Markus. We will miss you.”

Other wrestler’s have already taken to social media reacting to Crane’s passing.

“Not the best news to wake up to…” tweeted wrestler and promoter Danny Demanto. “RIP Markus Crane. You brighten our dysfunctional little world from the second you entered it. I don’t even have the words to put together right now. You will be missed forever my friend.”

“This one fucking sucks,” former GCW Ultraviolent Champion Drew Parker tweeted. “Markus I couldn’t forget you even if my life depended on it.”

“I love you Markus,” former ROH Television Champion Tony Deppen tweeted.

Wrestling Inc.’s Managing Editor Nick Hausman was a close friend of Crane’s as well. The two promoted a series of late-night, punk-rock wrestling shows at Reggie’s in Chicago called Viva La Rasslin’. Hausman shared the following on Twitter in regards to Crane’s passing, “One of my best friends. Completely crushed. I’m going to miss our recklessness and laughs.”

Trained by Chris Hero and Danny Daniels, Markus Crane made his wrestling debut in November of 2009 for Illinois indie promotion Pro Wrestling Epic. He became a staple of the independent wrestling scene in the midwest, primarily working for IWA Mid-South and All American Wrestling (AAW), developing a reputation as one of the most daring deathmatch wrestlers on the scene. In Freelance Wrestling in Chicago, he would also work under the name Haunter Strange.

As stated, Crane was one of the earliest members of the GCW roster after the promotion, originally Jersey Championship Wrestling, was rebranded in 2015. His most famous GCW matches were competing in the finals of the 2018 Nick Gage Invitational, where he wrestled Gage and Japanese deathmatch legends Isami Kodaka and Masashi Takeda, and a match at the 2017 Nick Gage Invitational one year earlier, where he wrestled Daisuke Masaoka.

In December of 2019, Crane was abruptly forced to retire after a hospital visit for a pre-existing head injury revealed an infection in his skull had leaked into his brain. The resulting surgery led to part of Crane’s skull being removed to treat the infection and was ultimately a success. Crane would ultimately get back in the ring one last time at GCW Planet Death, part of The Collective this past WrestleMania weekend. He defeated Kit Osbourne in a quick match. As noted, he was training for a full time comeback at the time of his death.

Wrestling Inc. wishes to offer their condolensces to Markus Crane’s family and friends during this difficult time.

You can read the tweets reacting to Markus Crane’s passing, including GCW’s statement, below.

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