Matt Cappotelli, winner of the third season of Tough Enough, passed away on Friday morning due to brain cancer. He was 38-years-old.
His wife, Lindsay, announced her husband's passing on Facebook on Friday morning.
"Hey Team Capp...I've been struggling with what to say and how to say this, and I'll probably end up rambling, but here goes," she wrote. "Today my love-my strong, sweet, beautiful love-took his last breath at 3:30 a.m. and went Home to be with Jesus...exactly one year after his brain surgery. You think you can be prepared for this when you know it's coming, but you just can't. 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."
Cappotelli won the reality show competition alongside future WWE Superstar John Morrison in 2003. He then went to WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and trained for three years before announcing he had been diagnosed with brain cancer in early 2006. He successfully underwent surgery a year later to have a brain tumor removed
He went on to become a trainer for OVW as part of its beginner's program. Unfortunately in June 2017 he had to undergo emergency surgery when it was discovered his brain cancer had returned for a second time.
Cappotelli spoke with WWE.com about his fight with cancer in August 2017.
Well, what everyone says and what was in my head is that every year you're in remission is a year you're further from it ever coming back," Cappotellio said when describing how it felt when he learned of the diagnosis. "The comfort level begins to build every year you're past it. You're not on edge as much. Every MRI is just a test you think less and less is going to come back with a health threat."
"Over the years, that comfort level had built up," he continued. "The last thing I expected was for something to be there. It was shocking. The first time around, I was completely shocked and thrown off guard as far as having something up there, a brain tumor anyways. Some people might have been surprised that I had anything up there, period. The second time around, it was like nothing I could describe. It knocked the wind out of me."1comments
The retired wrestler said he was still ready to beat it again, saying, "There's two mentalities: either you roll over and let it do what it's going to do, or you stand up and fight it. That was never a question for me; I'm going to fight it."
However the news got worse as the months passed. His surgery in June was able to get rid of 90 percent of a brain tumor, but the doctors diagnosed the cancer as terminal, giving him five years at most to live. In December Lindsay shared the news that Cappotelli had discontinued his treatments, as the doctors believed they had done all the could.