It was reported that Diablo 3 had taken its first real-world victim when a writer for gaming news site Gameranx was found dead after playing the game for three consecutive days. According to the site, 32-year-old Russell Shirley was discovered dead in his home over the weekend by his landlord and a coworker after suffering a heart attack, as reported on May 23.
Although the death was initially blamed on a three-day-long Diablo binge, that may not be the reason. PSXExtreme reported that a friend clarified the situation, saying that Shirley was out with friends until 1 a.m. the previous night.
Coworker Dave Oshry posted the news on Twitter on May 21, urging gamers to be careful and to play in moderation. Oshry shared a link to a blog post he had written as a memorial to his friend's death and a warning to the gaming community.
Monday morning came and he didn't show up to work, he wrote. I got a bit worried since I knew he was playing Diablo 3 since it came out on Tuesday and I've heard of people dying from exhaustion and what not from playing video games so much.
Shirley was found dead at his computer, according to the post, after suffering the heart attack. Oshry's account also says that the 32-year-old lead a sedentary lifestyle, and emphasized the importance of taking breaks from gaming.
Please, if only for yourselves, take time out of your day to get some exercise, he said. Video games are fun when played in moderation. This may be an extreme example but take it as advice not to go overboard.
Shirley took three days off from work prior to his death, and pretty much played Diablo the whole time, the post reads.
We are placing the blame on ourselves at work wondering if we made him come in on Friday would he still be with us today? writes Oshry.
Shirley's job offered free gym membership, and Oshry said that friends tried to convince him to eat healthier and exercise.
I'm not trying to blame the game for killing him, he writes. I'm trying to place the blame on the lifestyle choice he made. His health issues combined with a sedentary life must have taken its toll. It just happened to be during a Diablo 3 marathon that he died.
This isn't the first death connected to excessive video game activity. In May of 2011 20-year-old Chris Staniforth died from a blood clot after playing Halo for 12 hours a day, according to ABC News.
He lived for the Xbox, Staniforth's father told The Sun. I never dreamed he was in any danger.
In the post Oshry said that he wishes he could have done more to help his friend, and that Shirley will always be remembered.
We should have all tried harder, he wrote. He will be missed greatly by all who knew him.