Axl Rotten, the 44-year-old professional wrestler died from a drug overdose, according to an Anne Arundel County Police report. Rotten was found unconscious and not breathing on Feb. 4 at a McDonald’s bathroom. According to the police report, they found drug paraphernalia and a burnt tablespoon with “crystalline residue” on the infant changing table and an unlabeled pill bottle with capsules of a “brownish substance” suspected to be heroin on the paper towel dispenser.

Brian Knighton, Rotten’s birth name, was declared dead at the scene at 3:09 p.m. The exact manner of death is still undetermined.

The Baltimore-born wrestler was best known in the 1990s for competing in Extreme Championship Wrestling. He helped the organization gain legitimacy. The Baltimore Sun called ECW “the anti-establishment organization and a stark contrast to the family entertainment [of WWE].” ECW is now owned by WWE.

Rotten had dropped out of high school to pursue wrestling, best known “for the extremes he would go to in the ring, including mutilating himself in matches involving barbed wire and broken glass.” He had a long struggle with abuse with prescription drugs, heroine, cocaine, and alcohol, although he told the Baltimore Sun in 2005 that he had been sober for a year.


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Most recently, Rotten had established an online fundraising page in 2014 because he was hospitalized from his career of wrestling and needed two cervical spine surgeries in order to avoid spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. It failed to raise any money.

“They way  do things may not be the way you do things but you will find out there is only 1 way. My away! #AxlsTruth” tweeted Rotten on the morning of his death. It is unclear when Rotten passed.

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