Technoblade, a YouTube personality who has built up millions of followers with his wry comments on videos in which he plays Minecraft, has died, his father announced in a video on his son’s account.
More than 11 million subscribers made it a habit to watch screenshots of Technoblade’s Minecraft gameplay as he provided off-camera commentary. While he mostly focused on what was happening in the game, in some videos he described life events as mundane like going to the DMV or as devastating as getting a cancer diagnosis.
A video titled “so long nerds,” posted to Technoblade’s YouTube channel on Thursday and seen more than 26 million views as of Friday afternoon, deviated from the channel’s usual aesthetic of colorful, pixelated bricks. Instead, a man who identifies himself as Technoblade’s father appears, sitting in a chair against a stark white background with a small white dog on his lap.
His father, who does not mention his name, reads a message from his son that begins: “Hello everyone. Technoblade here. If you’re watching this, I’m dead.”
The message reveals Technoblade’s first name, Alex, which he has not used online. The video also features a handful of photos of Alex with loved ones. He had rarely shown himself in his YouTube videos, preferring to present himself as his avatar: a crowned, sword-wielding pig.
“If I had a hundred lives left, I think I would choose to be Technoblade every time,” Alex’s letter reads. “Those were the happiest years of my life.”
His father, who remains emotional throughout the video, says he and his son have been talking for months about whether or not to record a final video. Instead, Alex decided to write the letter and died about eight hours after he finished, 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, who is not mentioned by name. She wrote that her son avoided personal fame and made self-mockery even as his channel grew in popularity.
“From the earliest online days of Technoblade, he was always inventing and rewarding his audience, giving away online prizes, encouraging sportsmanship and most importantly, sharing his Minecraft adventures for entertainment and laughter,” she wrote.
Alex’s family could not be reached on Friday. Hypixel, a gaming company that partnered with Technoblade, said the family had asked that requests for comment not be forwarded to them. “The video they shared contains all the information they feel comfortable sharing right now,” said Don Pireso, the company’s chief executive, in a direct Twitter message.
Alex publicly acknowledged his cancer diagnosis for the first time in a video posted to his channel in August. Like the others, the video showed the game as he spoke off-camera. He kept his self-mockery, humorous style and refused to get 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 up for a virtual doctor’s appointment. Then he joked, “Sitting in 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 of rest, he said, his shoulder swelled “like crazy.”
He also begged people to get a Covid-19 vaccine, saying the cancer treatments had weakened his immune system, putting him at greater risk of serious illness from the coronavirus.
“I’ll go ahead and speak on behalf of all cancer patients when I say it’s incredibly upsetting when hospitals are overworked by people dying from preventable diseases,” he said in the video. “I’m just saying, we have skewers on 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 the owner, Microsoft, has no control over the servers where players meet online. Players can instead create their own servers or join a server created by someone else, creating a vast network of worlds in the Minecraft universe.
Hypixel, which operates a network of Minecraft servers, said it had created a digital memorial book where people could write messages that would be printed and sent to Technoblade’s family. The company’s tribute featured an image 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 him on Twitter as a “legend”.
“I just know,” wrote Mr. Simons, “he’s in heaven strategizing to defeat God.”
Claire Fahy contributed reporting.