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Tragic struggle
Ex-wrestling star was trying to 'get his life back'

By MICHELLE MARK -- Calgary Sun

 Family members feuding over the memory and the remains of Davey Boy Smith are able to agree on two things: he had desperately wanted to turn his life around, and drugs likely killed him.

 But while a friend of Smith and his girlfriend, Andrea Hart, said prescription painkillers to mask the pain of training for his planned wrestling comeback ultimately ended Smith's life, his estranged wife said that addiction was the least of his woes as he fought to be a better husband and father.

 "Davey was desperately trying to get off drugs and get his life back," said Diana Hart, Smith's estranged wife and mother of his two teenagers, Harry and Georgia.

 Hart family members said Smith -- who was broke -- was living a nightmare, hitting rock bottom before grasping to save himself and his relationship with his kids.

 "We saw him on Friday before he left, and he said he wanted to be closer to us and spend more time with us," daughter Georgia said, adding she will always fondly remember her dad for his kindness and his lust for life.

 Smith died Saturday morning inside his Fairmont, B.C., hotel room as Andrea lay beside him.

 But Andrea's husband, Bruce Hart -- Smith's brother-in-law -- said Smith's life was complicated as the victim of a sordid love triangle further corrupted by drugs.

 "Davey was caught up in a cesspool of nonsense," he said, referring to the story of Smith's relationship with his wife as "an unfortunately contrived Camelot fairy tale."

 Ben Bassarab, a longtime friend of Smith's and former fellow wrestler, said Smith's comeback was meant to be brief and was a last-ditch effort to clear his reputation, enabling him to retire from the wrestling world with dignity.

 "He wanted to show everybody he could still do it and that he wasn't washed up," Bassarab said, adding that plight may have eventually killed him.

 "He wanted to prove to people he wasn't a drug addict and a loser."

 Smith, who rose to fame as one of the British Bulldogs, fought his last match at the Southdale Community Centre in Winnipeg on May 11.

 The night before, he wrestled with son Harry, 15, in Brandon, Man.

 The matches were Smith's first in 16 months, after the wrestler was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle crash.

 Family members said Smith's body will be cremated -- following a public memorial service -- with his ashes divided between his father and children.

 Diana also said young Harry plans to continue wrestling in his father's memory, motivating him to become one of the best the wrestling world has ever seen.

 "Harry has such a gift and Davey was so proud of him," she said.

 Autopsy results from the medical examiner in Cranbrook, B.C., are expected to be released today.

 Funeral arrangements for Smith have not yet been finalized.

 Plans are also underway to honour Smith's memory next week at a World Wrestling Entertainment Smackdown event being held in Calgary, WWE spokesman Gary Davis said.

More on The British Bulldog




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