Technoblade, a YouTube personality who gained millions of followers with his tongue-in-cheek comments on videos of himself playing Minecraft, has died, his father announced in a video posted to his son’s account.
More than 11 million subscribers got into the habit of watching Technoblade’s Minecraft gameplay screen recordings while he provided off-camera commentary. While he generally focused on what was happening in the game, in some videos he described life events as mundane as going to the DMV or as devastating as receiving a cancer diagnosis.
A video titled “see you later nerds” which was posted to Technoblade’s YouTube channel on Thursday and has been viewed more than 26 million times as of Friday afternoon, departed from the channel’s usual aesthetic of colorful pixelated bricks. Instead, a man identifying himself as Technoblade’s father appears, sitting in a chair against a white background with a small white dog on his lap.
His father, who does not give his name, reads a message from his son that begins: “Hello everyone. Technoblade here. If you’re watching this, I’m dead.”
The message goes on to reveal Technoblade’s given name, Alex, which he did not use online. The video also features a handful of photos of Alex with her loved ones. He had rarely been shown in YouTube videos of him, preferring to present himself as his avatar: a crowned, sword-wielding pig.
“If I had another hundred lives, I think I would choose to go back to being Technoblade every time,” says Alex’s letter. “Those were the happiest years of my life.”
His father, who remains emotional throughout the video, says he and his son talked for months about whether to shoot a final video. Instead, Alex decided to write the letter and died about eight hours after finishing it, his father says.
“I don’t think he said everything he wanted to say, but I think he got the main points,” he says.
The video ends with a written statement attributed to Alex’s mother, whose name is not mentioned. She wrote that her son avoided personal fame and belittled himself, even as his channel’s popularity skyrocketed.
“Since Technoblade’s early online days, he has always been looking for ways to delight and reward his audience, giving out prizes online, encouraging good sportsmanship, and most of all, sharing his Minecraft adventures for entertainment and laughter,” he wrote.
Alex’s family could not be reached on Friday. Hypixel, a game company that worked with Technoblade, said the family had asked that requests for comment not be sent to them. “The video they shared contains all the information they feel comfortable sharing at this time,” Don Pireso, the company’s senior administrator, said in a Twitter direct message.
Alex first publicly acknowledged his cancer diagnosis in a video posted on his channel. in August. Like the others, the video featured gameplay while speaking off-camera. He maintained his humorous and self-deprecating style, refusing to be too serious. He also revealed his age at the time, 22.
In the video, he described how the first round of chemotherapy left him so exhausted that he could barely sit down for a virtual doctor’s appointment. He then joked, “Sitting on a chair, am I Superman?”
He said he was diagnosed after experiencing severe pain in his arm. He initially dismissed it as a repetitive stress injury from playing video games, but even after a few days off, he said, his shoulder “would swell like crazy.”
He also implored people to get vaccinated against covid-19, saying cancer treatments had weakened his immune system, putting him at higher risk of getting seriously ill from the coronavirus.
“I am going to go ahead and speak for all cancer patients when I say that it is incredibly upsetting when hospitals are overwhelmed with people dying of preventable diseases,” he said in the video. “I’m just saying we have dibs in those hospital beds.”
On social media, friends and fans of Technoblade praised him for his humor and for being a role model among Minecraft players.
Minecraft is different from most games because its owner, Microsoft, does not control the servers where players are online. Instead, players can create their own servers or join one created by someone else, creating an expanding network of worlds in the Minecraft universe.
Hypixel, which runs a network of Minecraft servers, said it had created a digital memorial book for people to write messages that would be printed and sent to the Technoblade family. the company tribute featured an illustration of Technoblade’s pig avatar as a statue. “In many ways, the success of many of us is tied to the success of Technoblade,” the company said.
One of Technoblade’s friends, youtuber Thomas Simons, better known as TommyInnit, described it on Twitter as a “legend”.
“I just know,” Mr. Simons wrote, “he is strategizing in heaven on how to beat God.”
Claire Fahy contributed report.