In a handwritten note left behind for loved ones, Orton stoically wrote that his suicide was “the right thing to do, given the circumstances, because it’s what’s best for business.”
Orton earned his reputation as the Legend Killer around 2004 after violently attacking and sidelining established stars of professional wrestling such as Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley.
Having recently ascended to main-event status again as a member of the reunited Evolution, Orton had transitioned from being merely a WWE superstar to being a bona fide legend.
In order to maintain the integrity of his “Legend Killer” persona, Orton descended (very slowly) into the basement of his St. Louis home and, listening to the voices in his head, ended his life.
In his suicide note, Orton cryptically indicated that he would “go to the papers” if he had to, though no one is sure what he meant.
Friends and family were shocked by Orton’s passing, and one WWE commentator, speaking on behalf of the company, said the news came “outta nowhere.”