Byron “Reckful” Bernstein, a popular video game streamer on Twitch, has died, according to social media posts from his ex-girlfriends and brother. He was 31.
According to Blue Madrigal, his ex-girlfriend and one of the people who initially confirmed his death on social media, Bernstein died by suicide.
Bernstein went by the name Reckful on Twitch, where he was best known for his “World of Warcraft” streams and had over 936,000 followers. Most recently, Bernstein had been working as a developer on his own video game, “Everland,” which was set to release later this year.
Bernstein raised concerns early Thursday morning with a series of tweets, one in which he appears to have proposed to his ex-girlfriend Becca Cho. He followed up the post a few minutes later with, “Ahh, I feel bad for anyone who has to deal with my insanity,” asking his followers to “please just know in these situations the insane person does not feel in control of their actions.”
Madrigal alluded to his death with several Twitter posts, the first of which reads, “I’m at a loss right now. Something I’ve been scared of happening for so long happened. I can’t stop crying.”
Madrigal then continued to tweet, saying “Someone I loved killed themselves. I wish I could have said something to prevent it.” She then shared a video of her with Bernstein and a screenshot of their text messages.
Cho later published a Twit Longer post, saying that she “didn’t see the proposal until it was too late” and sharing that Bernstein helped her to understand the complexity of mental health.
“He brought me to realize that I knew NOTHING about depression, NOTHING about mental health issues,” Cho wrote. “I had this vague idea of what it was and embarrassingly thought that I could help with trivial bulls—.”
Cho went on to call for “better support to those with mental needs,” citing a previous instance in which the police were called on Bernstein out of fear that he was at risk of suicide.
“THIS CANT BE HOW PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT THE PLACES THAT SHOULD BE KEEPING THEM SAFE. HOW THE F— IS THAT OK? Friends don’t feel that it’s the right move to call for help when they know that the mental institutions they get sent to treat them like animals incapable of understanding,” Cho wrote.
Bernstein’s brother, Gary, also took to Twitter to confirm his death, writing “My baby brother Byron is gone. RIP. He left in a similar way as my older brother Guy. I’ve no siblings left.” Guy died of suicide when Bernstein was just 6 years old, according to a YouTube video Bernstein posted in January.
Tributes from the gaming community have come pouring in for Bernstein. Read some below.
If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.