VIRGINIA BEACH — The man who died during a 24-hour video game marathon video stream in February overdosed on fentanyl, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Brian Vigneault, 35, also known to the gaming community by his username “PoShYbRiD,” died on Feb. 19 in the middle of a Twitch streaming session. He was playing a game called “World of Tanks.”
Twitch is an online streaming service for people to watch and interact with people playing video games. Vigneault had more than 7,000 followers on the streaming service.
Vigneault’s memorial fund has raised nearly $20,000, which his father Ronald will manage to benefit his three children, according to a GoFundMe page.
Police found Vigneault dead in a residence located in the 1000 block of Glen Lochen Drive around 7:50 p.m., said Virginia Beach Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce.
Vigneault was known for his automobile expertise and had a talent for solving mechanical problems, according to his obituary.
According to Dr. Heidi Kulberg with the Virginia Department of Health, fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and about 50 times more potent than heroin. Use of the drug is drastically on the rise in the region.
“Fentanyl overdoses increased 360 percent from 2014 to 2015 in Hampton Roads,” Kulberg said. “When you look at 10-year increase of fentanyl from 2007 to estimates to 2016, there’s over a 1000 percent increase. It’s gone from barely perceptible to really kind of taking center stage.”
Vigneault isn’t the first to die during a video game binge.
Last year, a 32-year-old man died from cardiac failure in a Taiwan internet cafe in Taiwan after a three day gaming marathon. Similarly, a 24-year-old man from China died last year after playing World of Warcraft for 19 hours straight.
It isn’t uncommon for Twitch users to log in long hours.
According to a blog post by Twitch user Joe Marino, he would work up to 18 hours daily sitting down. This led him to getting an angiogram — an x-ray of blood or lymph vessels — after another gamer Dalsarius82 died from heart failure.
Marino wrote that the test revealed multiple blocked arteries and he underwent surgery.
“It is a literal grind. For you to succeed you need to spend most of your time streaming. Streaming is hard. You have to sit there and not move,” Marino wrote.
World of Tanks gamer Danny Olesen said Twitch users are known for clocking in excessive hours to build an audience, but that it’s ultimately an independent choice.
Olesen, of Denmark, said he remembers playing with Vigneault before he became a well-known Twitch streamer.
“I was amazed by his skill, but also his ability to remain calm even if all hell broke loose in a game,” Olesen said. “He taught me a lot about some of the basic game mechanics.”
Olesen said began to build a rapport with Vigneault, and often had conversations with him despite the distance between the countries they lived in.
“Yeah, well we could talk about everything,” Olesen said. “But there is no doubt that he was a family man. His kids meant the world to him.”