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Independent wrestler Markus Crane passes away

Independent wrestler Markus Crane (real name Mark Pobanz) has passed away at 33 years old.

Crane was a death match wrestler from Illinois who had wrestled for Game Changer Wrestling, AAW, and more. His passing was announced by Freelance Underground.

A Reddit user who was co-workers with Crane wrote that he was told Crane took a nap and never woke up and was pronounced dead last night/this morning.

Crane was a former AAW Tag Team Champion and had wrestled in Japan in 2019 as part of GCW's inaugural tour of the country.

Crane had emergency brain surgery in 2019 where it was discovered that there was an infection eroding his skull and leaking into his brain. A portion of Crane's skull had to be removed to treat the infection. He had been working on returning to the ring and had a return match for GCW over WrestleMania week this April. Crane quickly defeated Kit Osbourne after answering Osbourne's open challenge.

GCW issued a statement on Crane's passing:

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