Matt Cappotelli (1979 - 2018)

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Matt Cappotelli (Lindsay Cappotelli via Instagram)
Matt Cappotelli, former WWE wrestler and winner of “Tough Enough III,” died Friday, June 29, 2018, after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, according to multiple news sources. He was 38.

Cappotelli was an up-and-coming professional wrestling star when he won WWE’s reality television competition “Tough Enough III” in 2003.

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He was wrestling for WWE’s developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling, when he was first diagnosed with brain cancer. He retired from professional wrestling and underwent surgery in 2007.

In 2017 he announced that the cancer had returned, and after consulting with doctors, he ceased medical intervention in May 2018.

“You think you can be prepared for this when you know it’s coming, but you just can’t,” his wife Lindsay wrote on the TeamCapp Facebook page. “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.”

The other winner of “Tough Enough III,” John Morrison, paid tribute to his friend and colleague on Twitter.

“Matt inspired everyone around him especially me early in my career. He is loved and will be missed,” Morrison wrote.

Cappotelli recognized that he could continue to touch people’s lives outside the ring, even as he battled for his life.

“If I can inspire someone to share their struggles – it’s not easy, at least for me, to be vulnerable. You want to hold it in and put on the tough guy persona, that nothing’s getting to you, but that’s a lie. I don’t think anyone draws inspiration from that,” he told in 2017. “I think the more you’re open and relatable, there’s more strength others can draw from that.”

Cappotelli is survived by his wife, Lindsay.

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