Technoblade, a YouTube personality who attracted millions with his tongue-in-cheek comments on videos of himself playing Minecraft, has died, his father announced in a video posted on his son’s account.
More than 11 million subscribers have taken to watching screen recordings of Technoblade’s Minecraft gameplay as he provides off-camera commentary. While he generally focused on what happened in the game, in some videos he depicted life events as mundane as going to the DMV or as devastating as being diagnosed with cancer.
A video titled “so long nerds,” which was posted to Technoblade’s YouTube channel on Thursday and had more than 26 million views by Friday afternoon, deviates from the channel’s usual aesthetic of colorful bricks and pixelated. Instead, a man who identifies himself as Technoblade’s father appears, seated in a chair against a white background with a small white dog in his lap.
His father, who does not give his name, reads a message from his son which begins: “Hello, everyone. Technoblade here. If you’re watching this, I’m dead.
The post goes on to reveal Technoblade’s first name, Alex, which he hasn’t used online. The video also features a handful of photos of Alex with his loved ones. He had rarely shown himself in his YouTube videos, preferring instead to portray himself as his avatar: a crowned pig armed with a sword.
“If I had a hundred more lives, I think I’d choose to be Technoblade again every time,” Alex’s letter says. “Those were the happiest years of my life.”
His father, who remains emotional throughout the video, says he and his son discussed for months whether to record one last video. Instead, Alex decided to write the letter and died about eight hours after finishing it, his father says.
“I don’t think he said everything he wanted to say, but I think he got the gist of it,” he said.
The video ends with a written statement attributed to Alex’s mother, who is not named. She wrote that her son shunned personal fame and self-depreciation, even as his channel skyrocketed in popularity.
“Since Technoblade’s earliest online days, he has always strategized to delight and reward his audience, offering online prizes, encouraging sportsmanship, and most importantly, sharing his Minecraft adventures for fun and laughs,” said she writes.
Alex’s family was unreachable on Friday. Hypixel, a game company that has worked with Technoblade, said the family asked that requests for comment not be forwarded to them. “The video they shared contains all the information they are comfortable sharing right now,” Don Pireso, the company’s lead administrator, said in a direct message on Twitter.
Alex first publicly acknowledged his cancer diagnosis in a video posted to his channel in August. Like the others, the video showed the game as he spoke off-camera. He retained his style of self-mockery and humor, refusing to be too serious. He also revealed his age at the time, 22.
In the video, he described how the first cycle of chemotherapy had left him so exhausted that he could barely sit down for a virtual doctor’s appointment. Then he joked, “Sitting in a chair, am I Superman?”
He said he was diagnosed after feeling severe pain in his arm. He initially dismissed it as a repetitive stress injury from video games, but even after a few days off, he said, his shoulder was “swelling up like crazy.”
He also implored people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying cancer treatments had weakened his immune system, putting him at increased risk of serious illness from coronavirus.
“I’m going to step forward and speak for all cancer patients that it’s incredibly annoying when hospitals are overwhelmed with people dying of preventable diseases,” he said. in the video. “I’m just saying we have dibs on these hospital beds.”
On social media, friends and fans of Technoblade praised him for his humor and for being a role model among Minecraft players.
Minecraft is different from most games because its owner, Microsoft, does not control the servers where players meet online. Players can instead create their own servers or join one created by someone else, creating a vast network of worlds in the Minecraft universe.
Hypixel, which runs a network of Minecraft servers, said it created a digital memorial book for people to write messages that would be printed and sent to Technoblade’s family. The company’s tribute featured an illustration of Technoblade’s pig avatar in statue form. “In many ways, the success of many of us is tied to the success of Technoblade,” the company said.
One of Technoblade’s friends, YouTuber Thomas Simons, better known as TommyInnit, described it on Twitter as a “legend”.
“I just know,” Mr. Simons wrote, “that he’s strategizing in heaven how to beat God.”
Claire Fay contributed report.
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