Mark Pobanz, popularly known as Markus Crane, died after suffering a traumatic brain injury, Game Changer Wrestling said in a statement on Twitter on Monday. The freelance wrestler was 33.
“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,” the American independent professional wrestling promotion’s tweet read.
“We were proud to have him represent GCW at Korakuen Hall during our inaugural show in Japan,” the wrestling company added.
GCW further stated that Crane suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly took his life in 2019.
“We were all inspired (but 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 in which he was proud to show off and left us all excited for his future. As a friend, Markus was caring and loyal,” the statement read.
“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.”
Crane, in 2018 wrestled Gage and Japanese deathmatch legends Isami Kodaka and Masashi Takeda in the Nick Gage Invitational finals. In December 2019, doctors discovered that he had an infection eroding his skull and leaking into his brain.
Nonetheless, it is unclear whether his brain infection contributed to his death.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of former AAW Tag Team Champion, Markus Crane. Our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time,” AAW Pro Wrestling said.
WWE star Cora Jade tweeted, “Damn. Life is short. Rest In Peace Markus Crane.”