Professional wrestling was rocked by another tragedy as 22-year-old Hana Kimura died in an apparent suicide that may have been connected to cyberbullying. Stardom Wrestling confirmed Kimura’s death late Friday.
The last entry on Kimura’s Instagram account on Friday contained a photo of Kimura with her cat. The caption said simply, “goodbye.” She also posted a series of troubling tweets, one of which read that she didn’t “want to be a human anymore.”
Hana Kimura was a budding wrestling star
Kimura made her wrestling debut in 2016 and achieved early success with the Wrestle-1 organization beginning in 2018. She branched out to compete internationally with Ring of Honor in the United States and various promotions in Mexico before joining the Stardom wrestling promotion last year.
Stardom promoted Kimura, whose mother also wrestled, as the leader of the Tokyo Cyber Squad faction, and she captured several of the circuit’s championships.
“We are very sorry to report that our Hana Kimura has passed away,” Stardom Wrestling said in a statement. “Please be respectful and allow some time for things to process, and keep your thoughts and prayers with her family and friends.”
Hana Kimura was also a reality-show celebrity
The wrestling career gave Hana Kimura international attention, but she was most closely followed in her native Japan thanks to her appearances on Terrace House, a reality show produced by Netflix Japan. Modeled after The Real World, which appeared on MTV from 1992-2017 and is now carried on Facebook Watch, Terrace House follows three men and three women living together in a Tokyo house.
Terrace House, which made its debut in May 2019, was put on hiatus last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic but had recently resumed production. Kimura had one of the longest runs on the show, debuting in the 20th of the series’ 42 episodes.
The cast’s everyday life is on display in the series, with storylines for Kimura ranging from competing with a housemate for the attention of a male cast member to having some of her wrestling clothes ruined in the wash. The most recent episode dealt with a series of Kimura’s wrestling appearances being canceled due to the pandemic.
The attention Kimura received from the show was not always flattering. Forbes reported that Kimura posted a suicide note on her Twitter account that referenced abusive comments on social media:
“Nearly 100 frank opinions every day. I couldn’t deny that I was hurt. I’m dead. Thank you for giving me a mother. It was a life I wanted to be loved. Thank you to everyone who supported me. I love it. I’m weak, I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a human anymore. It was a life I wanted to be loved. Thank you everyone, I love you. Bye.”
A difficult week for the wrestling community
Hana Kimura’s apparent suicide came two days after the body of 39-year-old wrestler Shad Gaspard was found on a Southern California beach.
Gaspard disappeared Sunday after he had been swimming off Marina Del Rey with his son, Aryeh. Lifeguards said the two were caught in a rip current before Aryeh Gaspard, 10, was rescued. Gaspard’s body was found on Venice Beach on Wednesday.
Shad Gaspard is best known as part of a tag team with fellow WWE star JTG. He left WWE in 2010 and pursued an acting career.