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Gay Former WWE Wrestler Chris Kanyon Dead at 40

Chris Kanyon, the openly gay wrestler who appeared in both the WCW and WWE in the 1990s, died at his Queens apartment on Friday. He was 40.

Kanyon, whose real name was Chris Klucsaritis, died of an apparent drug overdose involving pharmaceuticals. Preliminary reports point to suicide.

He was a victim of the demise of WCW, as WWE wasn’t really a good fit for him stylistically. Even though he was 6-3, he did not possess the kind of look they wanted. He was also plagued by injuries during that period and was finally released in 2004. He attempted to get back into the major leagues doing a gimmick as the first openly gay pro wrestler, later admitting to be gay in real life. He tried to garner publicity claiming WWE fired him for being gay, but the publicity went nowhere. TNA was also not interested in the gimmick. He had wrestled sparingly in recent years, had announced a retirement, but still on occasion wrestled.