Word came from early tonight on Twitter from Chris Candido's brother, John, that ECW star Balls Mahoney had passed away. Condolences and tributes quickly followed, and a short time later, Sean Radican at PWTorch confirmed the news.
We still don't have details about cause or circumstances of his death, but we'll share those as soon as they're available.
Mahoney, whose real name was Jonathan Rechner, just turned 44 yesterday. He started training while still in his teens during the 1980s and first made a name for himself in Jim Cornette's Smokey Mountain Wrestling in 1994, where he worked as Boo Radley and started a career long friendship/rivalry with Chris Candido.
Fame came when he joined Paul Heyman's ECW in late 1997, most notably in a tag team with Axl Rotten who sadly also passed away earlier this year. The Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks feuded with the F.B.I., the Dudleyz and Candido & Lance Storm, but never managed to capture the tag belts. But Balls did eventually become a three-time ECW tag champ: once with Masato Tanaka and twice with Spike Dudley.
With ECW until the end, Mahoney worked with various independents at the start of the 21st century before landing with WWE via the 2005 One Night Stand reunion show. The 'E decided to launch ECW as an internal brand, and signed the Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks to a contract, but Rotten was dropped for missing dates. Balls worked as a solo act and as part of an "Originals" stable until his release in 2008.
From then until 2016, he worked for a variety of independent promotions, and in brief stints with TNA and Ring of Honor (ROH).
He's survived by an eight year old son, Christopher, named after Candido - who died in April of 2005 at age 33.
It's a strange tribute, but one he always seemed to enjoy, so send a "BALLS!" out into the universe tonight, wrestling fans, and please join us in sending our thoughts and prayers to Mahoney's family and friends.