As noted, former WWE Tough Enough winner Matt Cappotelli passed away today at the age of 38 after his second battle with brain cancer. You can read the Facebook announcement from his wife at this link.
Below is WWE’s statement on Cappotelli’s passing along with Twitter & Instagram tributes from around the wrestling world, including comments from Stephanie McMahon, The Miz, John Morrison, Shad Gaspard, Kevin Owens, Bill DeMott and many others:
Matt Cappotelli passes away
WWE is saddened to learn that Matt Cappotelli, a promising Superstar who was a co-winner of WWE Tough Enough III, passed away Friday at age 38.
His death was first announced by his wife, Lindsay Cappotelli, on her Facebook page.
“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,” Cappotelli wrote in her post.
Matt Cappotelli, who previously proved his athletic prowess as a member of the Western Michigan University football team, quickly made a name for himself in sports-entertainment as a co-winner of WWE Tough Enough III.
He shared the victory in 2003 with John Hennigan, who later came to be known as John Morrison. After coming out on top of the WWE reality competition, the duo quickly started their training in Ohio Valley Wrestling to become future Superstars.
Cappotelli’s OVW training was cut short in 2006 due to an initial brain cancer diagnosis that was treated one year later. Ten years after surviving the first battle, his cancer resurfaced in 2017 and worsened later in the year.
In 2017, Cappotelli spoke with WWE.com about his second bout with cancer. Despite the troubling outlook, he continued to publicly fight his illness in hopes his story might help others find the strength to keep fighting their battles, too.
“Life is the most precious gift we’re given,” Capotelli said in 2017. “If I can inspire others to not give up on the life they’ve been blessed to have, that’s what I’m trying to spread – hope.”
WWE extends its condolences to Matt Cappotelli’s family, friends and fans.
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) June 30, 2018
My first best friend in the wrestling business and to this day one of the best people I’ve ever known Matt Cappotelli has passed on. I’m gutted about this news. Matt inspired everyone around him especially me early in my career. He is loved and will be missed.
— John Morrison (@TheRealMorrison) June 29, 2018
Saddened to hear of the passing of Matt Cappotelli. He’s was a great guy who deserved so much more. R.I.P. Brother https://t.co/42mq7ZfoGO
— Shelton J. Benjamin (@Sheltyb803) June 29, 2018
What a wonderful brave man. You fought harder than anyone could ever imagine. Rest peacefully. Condolences to the family x
— Drake Maverick (@WWEMaverick) June 29, 2018
So saddened to hear we lost Matt Cappotelli! He was truly one of the best guys I’ve ever met in this business.
RIP Brother https://t.co/NZjBeuD3Ey
— Chris Masters (@ChrisAdonis) June 30, 2018
Sending prayers out to Matt Cappotelli's loved ones and to his enormous extended family in wrestling. One man's life can affect so many. We all should strive to more like Matt.
— Kevin Kelly (@realkevinkelly) June 29, 2018
Very saddened to hear that Matt Cappotelli passed away. I had the privilege of working with and getting to know Matt during my time in OVW. If everyone strived to be even half the human being Matt was the world would be a wonderful wonderful place. #RIP
— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) June 29, 2018
Matt Cappotelli was a good guy. Sad news.
Hug the people you love.
Forgive your debtors.
Don't let small things get in the way of being good to one another.
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) June 29, 2018
Rest In Peace Matt Cappotelli. My thoughts go out to his family
— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) June 29, 2018
Never had the pleasure of meeting Matt Cappotelli but followed his journey over the years. That dude didn’t have ANY quit in him. He fought until his very last breathe. He’s a real true Inspiration. My heart breaks for his wife and family. God Bless you Matt. #TeamCapp
— KM / Kevin Matthews (@ImpactKM) June 29, 2018
Crushed to hear about the passing of Matt Cappotelli. He was talented, passionate & possessed a heart of GOLD. Everyone should fight as hard as Matt fought. Condolences to his friends, family & the countless others he touched on his journey. Rest In Peace Capp.
— KASSIUS (KASH-US) (@KassiusOhno) June 29, 2018
Damn it damn it damn it. You suck cancer. Augh. Rest In Peace Matt Cappotelli 💔 You are the true definition of a warrior. The strength and dignity with which you fought your battle will forever be admired. God bless you and your family.
— Lauren/Angelina Love (@ActualALove) June 29, 2018
My prayers go out to Matt Cappotelli and his family.
— Aron (@AronsThoughts) June 30, 2018
That being said, my heart extends to the family of Matt Cappotelli today. He taught us how to show up with love and hope despite adversity. A warrior. We are blessed to have had his energy light up our world.
Don’t hold back. Say "I love you" every day. Rise up. Shine your light.
— Serena (@SerenaDeeb) June 30, 2018
I hate to hear this. Seemed like a really good guy. https://t.co/iH5kGQcn7A
— Hurricane Helms (@ShaneHelmsCom) June 30, 2018
— Rodriguez 🇲🇽🇺🇸 (@RRWWE) June 30, 2018
So sad to hear of our great friend Matt Cappotelli passing. Matt taught/showed me what it was to be a Christ follower years before I was ready for that walk. We love you brother. “Well done good and faithful servant”
— Kris Pavone (@CroftDaddyWWE) June 30, 2018
Terrible news. Awesome guy who ALWAYS had a smile and a positive attitude. https://t.co/46JWxL0IzV
— Todd Grisham (@GrishamMMA) June 29, 2018
I'm heart broken with the news of the passing of Matt Cappotelli. He is an inspiring young man that touched so many with his smile, his heart, and his faith. My love and prayers go out to Matts wife Lindsay and the family. #TeamCapp #RIPMAtt pic.twitter.com/GpZlWSfZiJ
— Bill DeMott (@BillDeMott) June 29, 2018
One of the most genuine, kind people I’ve met in wrestling and life has passed away. Very sad… RIP Matt Cappotelli.
— Jillian Hall (@Jillianhall1) June 29, 2018
Matt Cappotelli was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He was also just as tough fighting his battle with cancer over the years, while maintaining his positive and fearless attitude.
— Justin Roberts (@JustinRoberts) June 29, 2018
Very sad day https://t.co/t77toK8icS
— Santino Marella (@milanmiracle) June 30, 2018
Rest In Peace Matt Cappotelli, thank you for inspiring so many
— Jay Bradley (@JayBradleyPW) June 29, 2018
RIP Matt. Your strength and resiliency during this entire ordeal was incredible and inspiring. Best to your family. We’ll see you down the road. https://t.co/vn2fjj3kI8
— BULL (@RealBullJames) June 30, 2018
Matt Cappotelli was what every young hopeful should strive to be. Positive, passionate and hard working. I was fortunate to know him during his early OVW days and he always had a giving spirit. RIP Matt…
— Tom Prichard (@drtomprichard) June 29, 2018
Godspeed, Matt Cappotelli. We never met, but I was inspired by his story and bravery. My heart goes out to his loved ones. Rest well, sir.
— Adam Pearce (@ScrapDaddyAP) June 29, 2018
— Brian Myers (@TheCurtHawkins) June 30, 2018
— JTG (@Jtg1284) June 29, 2018
I never had the chance to meet Matt Cappotelli but I have heard from many that he was a great person.
My sincere condolences go out to everyone affected by his passing.
— Kevin Owens (@FightOwensFight) June 30, 2018
RIP Matt Cappotelli .
— Fandango (@WWEFandango) June 30, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with Matt Cappotelli and his family. https://t.co/0jLkEKIsDF
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) June 30, 2018
Incredibly saddened by the passing of Matt Capotelli. I didn't know him, but I know he wanted to live & couldn't, when at one time I wanted to die & lived. Life definitely isn't fair. https://t.co/uFQ00frTFV
— Sean Waltman (@TheRealXPac) June 29, 2018
RIP Matt Cappotelli. A great human being and made the most of his life turning negatives into positives, setting a great example along the way. I never really knew Matt as we started in different places, but he was loved by everyone and the times I did meet him he was always smiling. Positive thoughts and energy to his family and friends. #TeamCapp
Life is not fucking fair. I’m not the best man I know, For every good quality I have there is an equal negative one. That is common for most people, but for Matt that was not true. . Out of all the thousands of people I’ve met in my lifetime he was the only person whose faith in God made me believe, Whos generous heart made me want to give more. Whos positive words echoed not only through my ears but my spirit. He never judged nor try to pass judgment on anyone for there beliefs or actions. He was true to his faith while respecting others. Making sure that they knew he respected them, and chose to find friendship in their similarities rather than separation in their differences. #MattCappotelli was honestly the Purest and most honest man I ever met in my life, and for all his goodness he should have outlive an asshole like myself a thousand lifetimes over. But today after years of struggle he passed away. . Life’s not fucking fair, and if there’s any justice or God or anything he deserves to be in the kingdom of Heaven, Giving angels pointers on what it means to be Faithful and pure. . Rest in peace my brother. #MattCappotelli #OVW #Wwe #ChildOfGod #ServantOfTheLord
In 2005, Matt Cappotelli & I were gonna be brought up to WWE Smackdown as the tag team “Reality Check.” One day out of no where he called me and said that he had just been diagnosed w/ brain cancer. On the phone, even with this scary news he remained positive and was gonna fight to beat cancer. He has been fighting for his life ever since. Every time I saw him he was positive and always had a smile on his face. Today, we lost a good one. A true fighter. My condolences to his wife and family. Matt, you will be missed my friend. #RIPMatt #TeamCapp