In a letter penned to the Overwatch community, Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka’s family spoke out for the first time regarding his death.
Hawelka died in November at the age of 30. The Overwatch community was informed of his passing through a message from Team Liquid owners Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens. The cause of Hawelka’s death remained unclear until the family’s message on Dec. 28.
A forensic investigation following Hawelka’s death found that an enlarged heart caused his death in November.
“Many of you have said that our beloved son and brother helped them and that he had a big heart,” the family wrote in a letter posted to Twitter. “The irony of fate is that forensics found out that he died because of it. For years, his heart must have enlarged so that it could no longer fulfill its task.”
It’s unclear what caused Hawelka’s enlarged heart.
“This legacy of Dennis we loved to accept and it will accompany us for the rest of our lives,” the family wrote. “Our son and brother will never be really gone, even if we so painfully miss him.”
Hawelka’s influence on esports is far-reaching. Throughout the years, Hawelka touched a number of titles, including World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, League of Legends, and Overwatch. The German national played for Team Envy’s Overwatch squad after founding IDDQD, an early Overwatch leader. Hawelka helped the Envy roster win multiple international titles before he moved into a coaching position for Team Liquid.
Team Liquid’s Overwatch team officially disbanded in September, but Hawelka stayed with Liquid as the head coach for the organization’s League of Legends team.
His death continues to be a devastating loss in the Overwatch community. To preserve his memory, Overwatch developer Blizzard added an in-game memorial for the beloved player and coach. In November, the Overwatch community celebrated Hawelka’s legacy with a friendly, community-driven tournament.
Blizzard will continue to recognize Hawelka with an Overwatch League award named in his honor.