Last week, Kevin Nash’s son Tristen died at age 26. On the new episode of his Kliq This podcast, which released today (Oct. 24), Nash discussed what happened, and why he felt it was important to do so as quickly as he could.
Tristen Nash went into cardiac arrest while having a seizure. Both appear to be due to withdrawal from alcohol. Both Kevin & Tristen decided to quit drinking together cold turkey after the WWE Hall of Famer discovered his son had “four or five beers, unbeknownst to me” while he was taping a recent podcast. The elder Nash said Tristen had some recent alcohol-related “incidents”, including being hospitalized earlier this year for alcoholism.
“The seizure caused a cardiac arrest. He was basically dead in his room on the floor with an EMT working on him and they got him back, got him in the ambulance, and tried to save his life. So, to the people at Halifax Hospital, doctors and nurses, I thank you.”
The effects of alcohol withdrawal can be serious, even life threatening, for people used to regularly consuming large quantities. Symptoms are usually managed with benzodiazepines, often in an in-patient setting:
“We both had decided that we were going to stop drinking. So, it was a situation where we both went cold turkey. I don’t think either of us felt great because you stop drinking coffee for a day and you get a headache. I think that we were both dealing with it but also because we’re so close to the cruise lines here, that norovirus shit is always prevalent...
“When you look back at things, it’s like, so he wasn’t feeling good. So we were kind of, my wife and I were just kind of like waiting on him hand and foot. We knew he was trying to do this. One of the things that if you WebMD that, one of the things of cold turkey is that you have an increased risk of having a seizure.”
Tristen’s death comes months after Kevin lost his Outsiders partner and best friend Scott Hall, whose life was also shortened by his dependence on drugs & alcohol. It’s one of the reasons he forced himself to talk about what happened:
“This is my cross to bear. It’s alcoholism. It took one of my dearest friends, it took Scott, and now it’s taken my son.
“Alcohol is such a nasty drug, and it’s a drug. Anybody out there, if you haven’t drank, you’ve probably done yourself an incredible service.
“I have spent half my life glamorizing the rock ‘n’ roll, hard-charging, hard-drinking, drug-partying, wrestling world that I grew up in and lived in, and I really need to take a step back from that and go, ‘You’re part of the problem, Nash, you glamorize a lifestyle that kills people and you’ve got to stop doing that.”
While discussing the outpouring of love and support from the wrestling community, Nash mentioned a few in particular:
“Vince [Russo] and I talked on Twitter direct message. He was very, very kind.
“That’s the whole thing. I apologize if I haven’t got back to you. When you open your phone and there are 234 messages, where do you start? A lot of them are people who I’ve lost their numbers. For instance, one — Terry [Gerin], Rhino, he reached out and thank God he put at the bottom, ‘This is Terry, Rhyno.’
“I got a message and it was a Connecticut number. I thought it was somebody in the [WWE] office. I started to read it and it was Vince [McMahon]. It said, ‘This is my new number. If you need me, I’m here.’
“One of the people I reached out to — when Ric Flair sent me a message, and was telling me he loved me, and ‘Anything I could do.’ The thing is when you’re one of the boys, it’s not just lip service. Ric reached out to me and I said, ‘Can we talk?’ He said, ‘Sure.’
“I went by the pool and I said, ‘How did you do it with Reid [Flair’s son who died of a drug overdose in 2013 at age 25]?’ We went over it. That’s what makes this shit work, not some therapist that is going to look at me and not be able to look past my tattooed arm or the fact that I was a mediocre wrestler... Ric gave me some really good advice.”
On the emotional, raw podcast, Kevin also remembered his son for reasons other than his death, revealing his other reason for recording the episode in the process:
“My son was autistic. My son was Asperger’s, my son was very highly educated, very high IQ but my son was autistic on top of all those things. My wife and I learned so much from him because he was always exploring and investigating...
“I’ve wanted to break down this whole show, he won’t let me. He’s just like, ‘Dad, this is what we gotta do.’ I was really looking forward to spending my golden years with my boy. I’ll find ways to try and stay connected.”
You can find the latest Kliq This, an at times difficult but ultimately important listen, here.
If you or someone you know needs more information on alcoholism, addiction, and treatment, visit samhsa.gov. To talk to someone confidentially, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).