Gamer dies during 24-hour marathon attempt for charity

2017-02-25 14:43
Young gamer. (File)

Young gamer. (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Virginia Beach – A Virginia man who died at home while playing a 24-hour video game marathon was part of an online live-streaming community where members sometimes go to extremes to build their audiences, experts say.

Brian Vigneault, 35, had spent about 22 hours playing the online war game World of Tanks on the streaming platform He told followers watching him play the game that he was raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

But early on Sunday, he stood up from his computer to take a smoke break. The father of three who played under the name 'PoShYbRiD' never appeared on screen again.

"He was in rough shape," said Jessica Gebauer, 29, a friend of Vigneault's and fellow streamer who lives in Humboldt in Canada's Saskatchewan province.

"I watched him until about half an hour before he said he'd be right back," she said. "He just looked really, really tired. We were telling him, 'Go to sleep. The stream can wait'."

Cardiac arrest

Virginia Beach police said they responded to a 911 call for cardiac arrest. Vigneault was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause and manner of his death remain under investigation, the medical examiner's office said.

One of the most popular websites in the United States, Twitch is a "congested marketplace" in which streamers are vying for eyeballs, according to Nicholas Thiel Taylor, a digital media professor at North Carolina State University.

"There is pressure on a lot of these folks to go to extremes to build an audience," he said. "It doesn't seem that gruelling on the surface, but you're interacting with people and playing a video game and temporarily putting off your biological needs."

Gebauer, Vigneault's friend in Canada, said 24-hour marathons are not uncommon. She did one herself.

"By doing it for so long, you get people from all different time zones," she said. "There's more opportunity for donations."

Loved his children

Gebauer described Vigneault as funny and sarcastic, someone whose anger at the game was as entertaining as he was. He told his friends he used to work as an auto mechanic, she said, and loved his three children.

Gebauer said Vigneault appeared to take enough breaks to prevent a blood clot during the marathon. She said he even took one of his kids to soccer practice.

"I have a hard time believing that streaming for so long was the cause of his death specifically," she said. "But at the same time, I know it wasn't good for him."

Vigneault's Twitch profile says he had raised nearly $11 000 for various charities during his five-year streaming career.

Make-A-Wish spokesperson Josh deBerge told The Associated Press in an email that the organisation is "looking into whether or not Brian had entered into any agreements, whether formally or informally, related to his fundraising efforts."

Gebauer is now the administrator of a GoFundMe page set up for Vigneault's children. As of Friday evening, it had raised more than $17 000.

Read more on:    us  |  gaming

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.