A well-known “Team Fortress 2” YouTuber apparently returned to his channel on Thursday after faking his death from a terminal illness three years ago.
Sketchek was once considered one of the best Pyro players in the online first-person shooter, according to PCGamesN. But, he decided to walk away from the game and his YouTube channel in 2015. Video games had “ruined his life,” he said. But, he didn’t want to simply retire. He wanted to “go out with a bang.”
“About three years ago, I announced that I’d contracted a nonspecific terminal illness,” a person claiming to be Sketchek said in the new video. “I want everyone to know that was a lie. It was a sick joke. It was a ruse. I was never ill. Not even a little bit.”
“You might say that I was mentally ill because I thought it would be fun to convince a lot of people that care about me that I would fucking die,” he added. “But I’ve been feeling really bad about it lately. I can no longer bear the weight of my sins, which is why I’ve decided to come out with the truth and apologize for lying.”
In a deleted 2015 video recovered by YouTuber Ronocc, Sketchek claimed he had a “problem with [his] central nervous system” and that he was “very ill.”
“My health is gradually deteriorating and the clock is ticking, so to speak,” he said. He went on to say that he can’t afford to spend any more time maintaining his YouTube channel and that his farewell video would be his last.
He even added a fake cough for effect.
After his supposed death, Valve memorialized Sketchek in March 2018 by adding a passive to the Pyro’s Axtinguisher called “Sketchek’s Bequest.” The ability grants a speed boost to players who get killing blows on burning opponents. Fans of his YouTube channel seemed happy by the addition, even if they sometimes seemed confused about whether or not he’d actually died.
“R.I.P. Sketchek, I wanted to see more of your amazing feats,” one commenter said. “If you are still alive, hope you get better soon.”
Sketchek now has mixed feelings about Valve’s tribute.
“I’m happy that they acknowledged me but I think they only did that because they were convinced I was ill/dead,” he said in a YouTube comment. “[I] would prefer they didn’t add it in the first place and I’d like it to be removed soon. I don’t deserve it.”
Although Sketchek said in the recent video he still doesn’t know exactly why he faked his death, he said he “just loves the feeling of taking someone for a ride.”
“But, I took it a bit too far this time,” he said.
The ruse apparently served another purpose — it made it more difficult to return to gaming and YouTube. He said he didn’t want to get addicted again and felt video games had “stolen something from him.” Yet, he’s apparently coming back anyway because he misses making content for “Team Fortress 2.”
Sketchek ended his video with a final plea. “I couldn’t really give a shit about the TF2 community at large, but if you have enjoyed my videos, I am genuinely sorry to let you down and I hope I can make it up to you by releasing some newer and better content.”