Tributes flood in for British wrestler Lionheart, who has died aged 36
Tributes have flooded in for British independent wrestling star Adrian McCallum, known as Lionheart, who has died at the age of 36.
Born in Coventry, Lionheart was best known for his work in Scotland's Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), where he was their World Heavyweight Champion at the time of his death.
Lionheart was a well-loved fixture of the British wrestling scene, performing for many promotions across the country. He was a vital and important figure in the resurgence of wrestling in this country, which has seen the sport return to terrestrial TV and see WWE launch their own UK sub-brand.
McCallum competed in untelevised matches for WWE and TNA Impact, and in 2008 unsuccessfully challenged Nigel McGuiness for the Ring of Honor World title.
He also gained national attention when he appeared on ITV's World of Sport revival in 2018.
In 2014, Lionheart broke his neck in a match against AJ Styles for Preston City Wrestling. Doctors were unsure if he would ever walk again, but he returned to in-ring action just a year later.
His death was announced on Wednesday by the ICW Twitter account.
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. pic.twitter.com/qmjnZTb5Lb
— ICW (@InsaneChampWres) June 19, 2019
News of passing has drawn tributes across the wrestling world. Matt Hardy said that he was "very shocked & saddened to hear this terrible news". WWE NXT
UK's Pete Dunne called Lionheart "pivotal in the growth of a scene that has lead to so many people being able to do this for a living," with William Regal saying "A lovely lad whenever I met him. Condolences to his family, friends and fans."
Very shocked & saddened to hear this terrible news about @LionheartUK. I’d just received a message from him yesterday congratulating me on our new child. My thoughts & prayers are with his family & loved ones. RIP Adrian.
— The VESSEL of Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) June 19, 2019
I always looked up to Lionheart’s professional approach to wrestling when it was far from that at the time. People like him were pivotal in the growth of a scene that has lead to so many people being able to do this for a living.
Thoughts are with those close to him. https://t.co/8WAtPTu0Il
— Pete Dunne (@PeteDunneYxB) June 19, 2019
Very sad to hear of the passing of Adrian “Lionheart” McCallum. A lovely lad whenever I met him. Condolences to his family, friends and fans.
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) June 19, 2019
I'm crushed to hear the passing of Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum. I may not have known him very well but he was one of the first people to welcome me with open arms when I took my first tour to the U.K. #RIPLionheart
— Cedric Alexander (@CedricAlexander) June 19, 2019
That is awful. Met Lionheart a few times over the years and worked with him last summer at WOS. A nice guy and a talented performer. RIP Adrian. https://t.co/ozZcuikZHc
— Stu Bennett (@StuBennett) June 19, 2019
Lionheart won the ICW World Heavyweight Championship in December 2018, defeating Jackie Polo in a Career vs Title Match at Fear and Loathing XI, in front of 2,000 fans at the the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.