Bigger, Stronger, Faster was one of my favourite documentaries from the past year, and if you haven’t seen it, the movie examines the causes and effects of steroid use as seen through the eyes of the filmmaker and his two brothers. This week we have some sad news that one of the film’s subjects has passed away. Mike “Mad Dog” Bell, the older brother of director Chris Bell, was found dead on December 14th at a live-in rehabilitation facility in Costa Mesa, California. He was 37 years old.
Bell worked as a wrestler for WWE’s Monday Night Raw, and had struggled for years with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers (although he had been clean for at least 60 days prior to his death). In some ways, this reflects the reality of Mickey Rourke’s performance in The Wrestler. Chris Bell had this to say about his brother’s death: “You can’t really blame wrestling, but it’s kind of the lifestyle… You have a couple of painkillers to get to the next match, have a couple drinks night to night and it gets out of hand.” The question a lot of people are wondering is whether or not his death was related in any way to steroids. The autopsy was inconclusive, but the coroner is currently awaiting the results of a toxicology test. (Thanks to Rico for the heads up!)