Chase Tatum, the larger-than-life, hard-partying, drug-troubled former WCW wrestler and budding movie star who was found dead Sunday afternoon at the age of 34, was a former roommate of Buff Bagwell, the wrestling legend who's the subject of a reality series now in production by Tabloid Baby's movie and television producer pal in Atlanta, Keith Walker.
The charismatic Buff, who's been very open about his own hard times, spoke to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his big dead buddy:
"Every wrestler has their own stash of pills," said Bagwell, himself a popular WCW wrestler from 1991-2001. "And everybody partied, all day and all night. I partied with him. It was part of it. You're going to need some help just to make it on the tour."
Bagwell said Congress needs to intervene, as it has with steroids in Major League Baseball.
"It'll kill wrestling, but wrestling is killing people anyways," he said. "It would be a shame if Chase ends up just another number."
Bagwell, who knew Tatum since high school, described his friend as a "God-fearing man." "He'd have a beer, but he also would have his Bible with him," he said. "He had a super heart ... just a great kid."
Tatum, a former Mr. Georgia, was planning to enter a drug rehabilitation facility in Miami, his father said. "He had a bright future," said Bagwell, who now lives in Woodstock. "I had heard that his movie career was really taking off."