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Stardom’s Hana Kimura dead at 22

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Stardom - Women’s Pro-Wrestling Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Japan’s Stardom confirmed early this morning that Hana Kimura, one of their fastest rising stars, had died.

She was 22 years old.

There are no official details about Kimura’s cause of death, but her Twitter activity on Friday had many concerned. One tweet read as a suicide note. Another included photos which indicated she had committed self-harm.

On Wrestling Observer, Dave Meltzer wrote:

“The death appears to be the first result of a pro wrestler’s depression coming from social media cyber bullying.”

She became the target of online attacks from her role as a cast member on the popular Japanese reality show Terrace House (which streams internationally on Netflix). An incident filmed in January of this year ended with her slapping another cast member after his negligence ruined the gear she wore for Stardom’s Wrestle Kingdom match at the Tokyo Dome. Since the episode aired, Kimura has been getting hateful messages from all over the world, and her own social media activity clearly showed how they’d been affecting her.

Then yesterday, tragedy.

Hana is the daughter of retired joshi star Kyoko Kimura. She’d been wrestling since she was 18. Bushiroad-owned Stardom had made her the centerpiece of their plans for the future, casting her as the leader of one of their main factions (Tokyo Cyber Squad), placing her front-and-center on marketing materials, and giving her high-profile spots like the Tokyo Dome match.

Sadly, none of that matters now.

On behalf of the entire Cageside Seats community, our thoughts are with Kimura’s friends, family, and everyone who is missing her today.

If you or anyone you know is thinking about harming themselves, head to suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).