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Independent wrestler Markus Crane has died at age 33

ICW No Holds Barred’s Twitter

Sad news, as Freelance Wrestling revealed this morning that Markus Crane (real name Mark Pobanz) has died. He was 33 years old.

Game Changer Wrestling confirmed the news, and issued a statement about Crane, who frequently worked GCW and other independent promotions. Many, but by no means all, of Crane’s bookings from 2009-2019 were deathmatches.

With sadness, GCW mourns the loss of Markus Crane. As a performer, Markus embodied the spirit of GCW. He was an underdog and an outlaw. He was fearless in the ring and determined to succeed against the odds. He played a major role in GCW’s early success and was part of the heart and soul of our roster from day one.

Markus was passionate about GCW and Deathmatch Wrestling. We were proud to have him represent GCW at Korauken Hall during our inaugural tour of Japan.

In 2019, Markus suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly took his life. We were all inspired (but not surprised) as he made a miraculous recovery and worked tirelessly to make his eventual return to the ring.

Most recently, Markus returned home to his family with a commitment to focusing his energy towards a healthier lifestyle. He had celebrated a series of milestones in his sobriety which he was proud to show off and left us all excited for his future.

As a friend, Markus was caring and loyal. He was quick to smile, or bring a smile to your face. We were all lucky to know him.

Rest in Peace, Markus. We will miss you.

The brain injury GCW mentions was an infection that required removal of a portion of his skull to treat. He did work his first match since 2019 for the company in April, answering Kit Osbourne’s open challenge and quickly defeating him.

Accounts from friends & co-workers (via reddit and PWInsider) indicate Crane died in his sleep. He’d said he was suffering from a headache, and generally not feeling well. He called out from his full-time job to rest. Crane had recently marked 30 days sober.

Our thoughts are with Pobanz’s family, and anyone mourning him today.