Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum is the Insane Championship Wrestling champion who died at the age of 36, according to a statement from the promotion. His cause of death was not revealed. ICW released the statement on June 19.
The promotion’s statement read, “We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of ICW World Heavyweight Champion, Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum. Adrian was a mainstay of ICW and British professional wrestling. Most importantly, he was our friend. His passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of those who knew him. Please respect his family’s privacy at this time.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. McCallum Tweeted a Message Regarding Death on the Day of His Death
On the day of his death, McCallum tweeted a quote from the Netflix series “Afterlife.” The quote read, “One day you will eat your last meal. You will smell your last flower, you will hug your friend for the last time. You might not know it’s the last time, that’s why you must do everything you love with passion.” That tweet was sent 13 hours before the ICW statement was released.
2. McCallum Became a Double World Champion 3 Days Before His Death
On June 16, McCallum battled Alexander Dean at a show titled, “I Ain’t Yer Pal, D***face.” The match saw McCallum put up his ICW World Heavyweight Championship against Dean’s Union of European Wrestling Alliance’s Heavyweight Championship. It was McCallum who emerged victorious.
Following his victory, McCallum posted a photo of his two belts on Instagram with the caption, “The will of the strong will never be shaken by doubts of the weak…”
3. At the Time of His Death, McCallum Had Been Working as a Trainer in Scotland
McCallum, a native of Coventry, had been based in Glasgow in the time leading up to his death. He had been working as a coach with the Glasgow Professional Wrestling Asylum.
A statement from that organization on his tragic passing read, “We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of GPWA Coach Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum. Most importantly, he was our friend. His passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of those who knew him. Please respect his family & friend’s privacy at this time.”
4. McCallum Broke His Neck in 2 Places During a Match With AJ Styles in 2014
In 2014, McCallum shattered his neck in two places during a match with WWE superstar AJ Styles. McCallum trained for three years to make it back to the ring, he told the Daily Record in November 2017. He told the tabloid, “It’s impossible to describe that feeling of lying in a hospital bed hearing you’ve broken your neck. People try and tell you everything will be fine, but it’s not what I wanted to hear at the time. From that point on, nothing in your life is a guarantee and it was a horrible place to be. It was just a case of going back to the start and working harder than ever before.”
At his return match, McCallum faced of against English star Zack Gibson and ECW legend Rob Van Dam. Lionheart shared a card with other legends such as Kevin Nash and Rey Mysterio. McCallum added in his interview, “It’s an exciting time to be around in ICW, and I see myself as being a key player in their future.” Prior to his now infamous match with Styles, McCallum said in an interview, “I’m very much looking forward to wrestling AJ. I’ve had dealings with him before from a more promotional perspective. So I’m very keen to step in the ring with him myself and prove I can hang with him.”
5. McCallum’s Legions of Fans Have Taken to Social Media to Pay Tribute to the Superstar
As news of McCallum’s tragic passing spread across social media, many fans and fellow wrestlers took to social media to express their grief. Here are some of the most poignant messages: