May 2, 2018 marked the end of an era as Stephen “Shalthis” Perry passed away at the age of 37. The Rocket League community has lost one of the pioneers of RL Esports as Shalthis was one of the original shoutcasters to cover Rocket League. His enthusiasm and prose that he brought to the game inspired a great number of people to not only get involved in the scene, but bring it to the highest possible caliber of entertainment and level of play.
Today, the #RocketLeague community lost a great man and an incredible ambassador for this game. @Shalthis, we miss you already and hope that you're finally at peace now. 💙 pic.twitter.com/yF6Y4BC6qt
— CloudFuel (@CloudFuel) May 2, 2018
The cause of death was the choice to stop eating and drinking water. This was posted by Shalthis himself on Twitter. Many of his followers and in the Rocket League community were deeply saddened by this decision but he explained in his TwitLonger that he felt that he was done living with the hand he was dealt. The outpouring of support in the replies to that tweet was heartfelt and sincere with few questions.
My last top-level Tweet
He is survived by his wife Amy, who became very active in Shalthis’ recovery and trying to make sure that the community that he helped build knew what was going on. She set up a GoFundMe page (found here) that allowed people to donate whatever they could to get him home from the hospice care in Phoenix, AZ to East Providence, RI. This sparked a reemergence of the Winter Classic, an event that Shalthis originally put on when the Snow Day game mode was released. The Winter Classic was put on by RLXL, a tournament organization run by a number of weekly tournament hosts and Jasher, a prominent TO and contributor to the community.
The community reached out in many ways. KerryTaz from Nexus Gaming was able to visit Shalthis in hospital just before the RLXL event. Kerry was moved at the support from Shalthis, even in the state he was in at that point. Kerry was quite distraught after the visit, saying it changed him in a way that was immeasurable. The Nexus Gaming leader was fairly involved in the aforementioned RLXL, and told those involved through Discord, “Lets give this event 100%”. The pictures that emerged from that visit really struck a chord within the community as a whole, as evidenced by the outpouring of messages and donations from the /r/RocketLeague subreddit.
Shalthis body of work within the Rocket League ecosystem ran the gamut, from weekly video reports on tournaments, to casting the newly formed ESL weekly and monthly finals. He also worked with Rocket League Central to bring together the Rocket League Central Pro League, a precursor to the RLCS. Many of the rules implemented in that tournament went into the formation of RLCS, of which Shalthis was on the tryout list to cast. The unfortunate timing of his stroke in April of 2016 would not allow him to achieve that dream.
His love of the game was evident every time he took to the mic. The Grand Finals of the last RLCPL was proof of this, and still lives on via YouTube. The below link is just after the end of the series where he nearly breaks down to tears in sheer joy of what himself and ThePasch just witnessed.
Many second and third generation Rocket League shoutcasters began their study of commentating RL with the various videos of ESL and Gfinity that Shalthis posted on his YouTube. The pacing and style that he used became the template for which a good number of current shoutcasters follow to this day, including this reporter. When I got my start at Mythical Esports, I would hop on Shalthis’ YouTube while at work and close my eyes. I learned the general nuance that was required from those vods, and now teach those basics to other aspiring shoutcasters in the Rocket League community. Admittedly, this will be the hardest piece I have ever had to work on because that is how much of an impact this one man has had on this community.
Even after his stroke, Shalthis remained as active as he could. He fielded an amateur team that saw some success but was focused on improving their skills more than anything. He created Rocket Powered Battle Cards and attempted to keep up his commentary on the RL scene as a whole. Each of these endeavors took a toll on his health though, so they were slow going. His health was not deteriorating in the physical sense, but his mental health was wearing thin in the waning months. These projects did help stave off the thoughts in his head as evidenced by his tweets.
Shalthis did not hide the fact that he was suffering from the public eye. Many people would be on the lookout for the next tweet from him, wondering what was going on. Many reddit posts asked this very question, and links to the GoFundMe page were usually posted as his wife Amy would attempt to keep everyone appraised of the situation there. After Shalthis began to regularly tweet those began to stop happening, especially after he was brought back to his home in East Providence, RI.
It was at that point that Shalthis made the conscious and extremely selfless decision to split apart from his wife. He reasoned that he felt he was holding her back from living the best life she could. This decision could not have been made lightly, but they were still fairly close as she did her best to take care of him. From his TwitLonger: “…I lost my relationship with Amy. She still loves me and wanted to be my caretaker, but she couldn’t stay with me. She wants to live a life – and I certainly don’t blame her for her decisions, she’s still young – that I could no longer provide because of this stroke. Emotionally, I wanted to keep her, but everything that’s been done or that she’s doing means I couldn’t be with her, regardless. I am still, and always will be, madly in love with her. Let me just say that this is not her fault. She is going to be very upset by this and significantly discouraged it. Losing her may have been my catalyst, sure, but I have many reasons why I did this. Anyone who blames her is a horrible person and is completely disrespecting me and my memory. The only *person* who is at-fault is me because of this stroke, but even I didn’t blame myself for it. I don’t even know if I could have even left a medical facility, and neither did she. Don’t blame Amy. I don’t.”
The rest of the TwitLonger can be found here: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sqh324
It was clear in that TwitLonger that the emotional and mental toll it took on him to simply live was too much for him to handle. His love for the lives that he was able to touch was expressed in one singular line though…
“With all of that, I had to go. I love you all.