Image courtesy of The Sun.
World of Tanks streamer Brian "Poshybrid" Vigneault died from unknown causes on February 19 after streaming for 22 hours. He was 35.
Vigneault was streaming to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Vigneault would spend multiple days in the same week streaming for upward of 20 hours. The charity stream was the culmination of one of those weeks.
According to stream moderators (via PVP Live), Vigneault got up to go smoke roughly 22 hours into his stream, at around 3:30 AM CST. Initially, viewers assumed he'd fallen asleep. The next day, however, a friend saw him on Discord and sent him a message. The person who responded wasn't Vigneault. Instead, it was a detective from the Virginia Beach police department, who said he was investigating Vigneault's death.
Video courtesy of LiveStreamFails.
The Virginia Beach police department confirmed to me that they are investigating Vigneault's passing, although they have yet to pin down a cause of death.
Vigneault was well-liked among the community for World of Tanks, the game he streamed most often, and many people who were close to him are now mourning. His gaming clan, FAME, posted a grief-stricken message on Facebook:
"Sad news from Virginia beach, one of the most famous NA streamers and a member of our clan Poshybrid has passed away at the age of 35, we just can not find words to describe how sad is this moment for all of us and for sure this game will not be the same without the legend. Maybe the saddest lines can not really be written, and the saddest thoughts can not really be uttered, let's all hope that he is in a better place right now and may his soul Rest in Peace, he will never be forgotten... a person who stays in our hearts never dies..."
Vigneault's Twitch channel has been deemed a "memorial channel" by its moderators, and longtime fans have been paying respects and sharing memories in the chat.
While playing video games for extended periods of time might not seem like the most strenuous activity, it can take a serious toll. Especially in recent times, streamers have spoken about the pressure they feel to stream for longer and longer periods of time, both to obtain notoriety and to maintain it. Some have reported issues like depression and anxiety stemming from that pressure, as well as sleep deprivation.
With nobody looking over streamers' shoulders and telling them when to clock out, it can be a dangerous line to walk. Here's hoping this is the last incident of this sort, rather than the beginning of a tragic trend.