Daniel Ryan “DC” Cormier lost his stepfather, Percy Benoit, whom he considered to be his true dad, on Saturday, and the UFC wrestler posted an emotional tribute to him on Instagram. The 40-year-old heavyweight and lightweight champion was only 7-years-old when he lost his biological father, Joseph Cormier, who was shot and killed by his second wife’s father after an argument turned physical over Thanksgiving in 1986.
Cormier, who’s married to wife Salina Deleon, captioned a series of photos of him and his dad, who died of cancer on August 24, to his 2.2 million Instagram followers:
“Today I lost my hero to cancer, my father was the bravest, strongest , hardest working and most caring person I’ve ever known. Always the life of the party and made everyone he ever came in contact with feel good. I never could have imagined we would be going through this right now. All the lessons I wanna try and pass along I learned from my dad. You know its about the legacy we leave behind and my dads legacy will be one of just a great person, loving husband and father and friend to everyone. If you’ve ever met Percy Benoit you’re better for it. We were able to see some amazing things pops and I hope you enjoyed the ride, I only wanted to make you proud. I love you pop, you were the strenght of this family , now you get to rest. No more pain. Love you Dad #rip #cancersucks”
In an interview with Sports Illustrated seven years ago, Cormier, who grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is about 130 miles outside New Orleans, credited his stepdad for always being there for him, and Percy as being his true father. “My stepfather, Percy Benoit, was the one who actually raised me from age three,” said Cormier. “I wish I hadn’t lost my dad at such an early age, but I had a father and he took care of me.”
On Twitter, Cormier reposted his Instagram post with the simple caption, “I love you Dad #rip”
Fellow wrestlers such as BJ Penn, UFC commentator John Gooden sent their condolences on Twitter, while Michael Bisping, Kelvin Gastelum, Luis Antonio Pena, Frankie Edgar, and others shared their prayers for Cormier on Instagram.
Cormier is no stranger to tragedy. In 2003, he lost his infant daughter, Kaedyn, whom he shared with ex Carolyn Flowers in a car accident. The air conditioner wasn’t working in Cormier’s car, so he let his daughter ride in a friend’s vehicle, which was rear-ended by 18-wheeler. Even though Kaedyn’s car seat was properly installed, she didn’t survive the crash.
With wife Selina, the former Olympic wrestler has one son, Daniel Comier Jr., who was born in 2011, and is already following in his father’s athletic footsteps. The couple also have one daughter, Marquita Kalani Cormier, who was born in 2012.