Friday, August 26, 2011

The death of JT Lightning


     On August 24, 2010 James Haase (JT Lightning) released the following statement:

 "Two weeks ago, i was diagnosed with throat cancer in my esophogus, which has spread to my lymphnods and now is in my liver. I have been through so many tests i dont know whether im coming or going. But it is uncurable and thats a hard pill to swallow, no pun intended. I just turned 40 and i never drank or did drugs and this all boils down from having acid reflux disease and not knowing it. This is a very trying part of my life because i always consdered myself a tough guy, so to speak, and this has brought me to my knees, begging for mercy. Wondering why me? I have no words to say to describe this. But if your out there and you are a friend of mine, be there for me when i need you, thats all i ask. I dont want pity. Just to be remembered for all the things ive done in my life through pro wrestling and music, punk shows or whatever. Thanks for listening".

     On August 4, 2011 JT Lightning passed away.  

JT Lightning


     Based on the above information, Lightning most likely had esophageal cancer as a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  The most common symptoms associated with GERD are "heartburn" and regurgitation of stomach contents.  Many individuals however do not experience these classic symptoms but may still be at risk for complications of the disorder.  Reflux has been associated with a number of complications including cough,wheezing, laryngitis, erosion of teeth, chronic sinusitis, recurrent pneumonia, chronic hoarseness, pharyngitis, laryngeal cancer and esophageal cancer.

     Chronic reflux can damage the lining of the esophagus leading to a condition known as Barrett's esophagus, which predisposes to a type of cancer known as adenocarcinoma.  While GERD is common, the actual incidence of developing cancer is low.  Barrett's esophagus can be detected by a medical procedure called endoscopy.  Not all people with GERD need to be screened for Barrett's esophagus.  The American Gastroenterology Association has published recommendations for who should be screened (see Table 1).

Table 1 (1)

  • Age 50 years or older
  • Male sex
  • White race
  • Chronic GERD
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Elevated body mass index
  • Intra-abdominal distribution of body fat

     Lightning's case is somewhat unusual because of his age and he was unaware of classic reflux symptoms.  At the time his cancer was diagnosed, it had already spread to other sites in his body.  Unfortunately, such cancer of the esophagus does not respond well to treatment.    



  1. Gastroenterology. 2011;140(3):1084.
The medical resource was used in the preparation of this blog.  
Photographs are for illustrative purposes only.  Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership.


  1. how old are his 2 kids joe and mike now?

    1. Joe was JT's step son, he is now 27 and has a son. Mike is 24 and just got married two weeks ago. JT's daughter Hannah is 23. And his daughter Taylor from his last marriage is 10 or 11 now.

  2. I do not have information on the ages of his children.

  3. Me and my niece and nephew LOVED watching J.T. wrestle in the Detroit independents!J.T.Will always be remembered as a true class act Superstar!!