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   Wed, June 27, 2007


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Edmonton rocked by tragedy
By FRANK LANDRY -- Sun Media


Chris Benoit's homecoming at Edmonton's City Hall three years ago was a boisterous event.

A mob of very loud and dedicated fans welcomed the WWE star home on April 15, 2004, with thunderous applause as former mayor Bill Smith proclaimed the next Sunday "Chris Benoit Day."

Yesterday, the mood at City Hall was quite the opposite. Politicians carefully reacted to the death of the former Edmontonian, found dead in his Fayetteville, Ga., home, along with his wife and seven-year-old son.

Cops have said they're treating it as a murder-suicide.

Mayor Stephen Mandel said it was too early to say whether the city would do anything to mark his career.

"You have to ask the family what their thoughts are, too," said Mandel. "We'll have to wait until our administration gets ahold of the family."

Mandel called it a "tragic situation" and said his thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Coun. Mike Nickel said the Benoit name is well-known throughout the city.

"This is a tragedy, any way you look at it," he said.

Back in 2004, Benoit appeared overwhelmed by all the attention heaped on him during his visit to the city where he grew up.

"I've brought the championship to Edmonton, right where it belongs," Benoit said in a speech at City Hall.

"I can't begin to tell you what an honour, what a privilege, it is. I had a whole bunch of things I wanted to say, but to hear the reaction from all the fans showing their support, it's really hit home.''

At that point, Benoit took a second to compose himself.

"It was quite overwhelming," he said.

RELATED LINKS

  • Chris Benoit tragedy news section
  • Chris Benoit biography and story archive