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Prescription painkillers and steroids found in apartment of dead pro wrestler Andrew "Test'' Martin

Editor's note: World Wrestling Entertainment implemented a test for steroids in February 2006. This story was incorrect on that point.

TAMPA — Today would have been Andrew Martin's 34th birthday.

The professional wrestler known as "Test" or the "Punisher" planned to leave Monday to celebrate in France, Sweden and Belgium, according to his MySpace page.

But authorities found his body Friday night at about 8 o'clock. And officers have since disclosed that they discovered prescription drugs, including painkillers and steroids, in the Harbour Place apartment.

A neighbor had become suspicious after watching him lie motionless on a couch for hours and called police. It appeared Mr. Martin was in the middle of a meal when he died, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. There was a half-eaten pizza and soda nearby.

Officers do not suspect foul play. There were no signs of trauma to Mr. Martin, she said. "He was obviously very healthy, McElroy said. The mystery of his death will likely be solved by his toxicology report.

Mr. Martin last performed for the World Wide Entertainment wrestling show in February 2007.

Fans have been speculating on numerous Web sites about why professional wrestlers have died young, including two locally.

Former professional wrestler Brian "Crush" Adams, 44, died Aug. 13, 2007, in his New Tampa home. An autopsy report found a mix of prescription drugs, a pain reliever, muscle relaxer and anxiety medication.

And on Jan. 19, 2007, ex-wrestler Scott Charles "Bam Bam" Bigelow, 45, died in his home in Hudson. Cause of death: multiple drugs, an autopsy revealed.

Many wrestling deaths cite coronary problems, which can be linked to excessive steroid use. Pro wrestlers are not tested for performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids.

The job is gruelling, and requires long days and the ability to work while injured.

More than 40 fans and friends left messages on Mr. Martin's MySpace page.

One remembered watching Mr. Martin exhibit self control when a fan "spat in your face and you were cool enough to stop the security guards from throwing him out for the sake of the kids who came with him so they could stay at the show."

On his page, Mr. Martin listed his dad as his hero and that "a good scary movie on the couch with my girl is a good night."

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at eparker@sptimes.com or (813)226-3431.

Prescription painkillers and steroids found in apartment of dead pro wrestler Andrew "Test'' Martin 03/16/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 12:42pm]
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