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Former women’s champion Natalya has called for fans to understand the impact of cyber bullying and the toll it can take on WWE stars after the loss of a Japanese pro wrestler Hana Kimura at the age of 22.
Kimura, a Japanese pro wrestler who also appeared in the latest series of the popular reality show ‘Terrace House’ died on Saturday.
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Stardom Wrestling confirmed Kimura's death, saying details are still largely unknown and the group was co-operating in an investigation.
Kimura was found dead at her home, Japanese media said.
But former WWE women’s champion Natalya has come out and called for an end to cyber bullying.
Natalya admitted she has struggled at times with the words fans direct at her on social media and aims to raise awareness on the toll it can take on WWE stars.
“I get bullied online every day. I’ve found ways to combat it & ignore it, but it still hurts from time to time,” she wrote on Twitter.
“It’s OK to have an opinion, but being malicious & reckless with your words is not OK. We have a responsibility to use our platforms constructively. Not destructively.”
Natalya was responding to another former WWE star, Paige, who had asked for fans to understand pro-wrestlers ‘work hard everyday to entertain’ and that online bullying can take a huge toll.
Kimura became the target of massive bullying on social media over her role on the ‘Terrace House’ show on Netflix, which involves three men and three women temporarily living together at a shared house in Tokyo.
The show was temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus.
In her latest Instagram posting Friday, she published a photo of herself and her cat, with a message saying “Goodbye.”
Another posting carried a message “I love you, live long and happy. I'm sorry.”
Her death has triggered a wave of messages on social media against anonymous bullying and hateful messages.
Wrestling mourns loss of two stars
The tragedy came just days after former WWE star Shad Gaspard drowned after getting in trouble while swimming at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
Gaspard went missing last Sunday after he went swimming with his 10-year-old son, Aryeh.
The boy was rescued and several other swimmers made it out of the water safely, with Gaspard reportedly telling lifesavers to help his son first.
Gaspard, 39, gained prominence in the WWE as one half of the tag-team group Cryme Tyme, along with his partner, JTG.
After retiring in 2010, Gaspard has had small roles on TV and in movies, including the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard.”
He was about 50 metres from shore when he was last spotted by a lifeguard, police said.
A wave crashed over him and he was swept out to sea.
With Associated Press