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Why Would Chris Benoit Apparently Murder his Family and Kill Himself?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 26, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Impact" segment tonight, Georgia authorities say professional wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife, seven-year-old son, and then hung himself. The 40-year-old Benoit had a history of domestic violence, and cancelled a televised wrestling appearance just last Sunday because of personal reasons. Some suspect drug or steroid use may be involved in this case because anabolic steroids were found in his home.

Joining us now from Chicago, former pro wrestler, Jon Stewart.

Very disturbing. Strangled his wife, smothered his seven-year-old son, and then hung around for about a day, authorities say, before he hung himself. Did you know this guy?

JON STEWART, FMR. PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER: I've met him a couple of times. You know, being in the industry for 20 years, I've known of him for 15 years. And this is completely out of character for him.

Chris was a very pensive, quiet guy, a workhorse in the industry. And this is completely out of — what I've known of him — character.

O'REILLY: OK, but you did know that he was on steroids. And you know, once you get into that world of narcotics, illegal drugs, whatever you want to call them, your personality changes. Correct?

STEWART: Well, that's true. That's true. I've never seen Chris take steroids or know anything so I can't allege anything like that. I can't tell you that.

O'REILLY: Well, they found him in his house.

STEWART: Yes. A high majority of professional wrestlers, past, present and probably unfortunately in the future have been on steroids. And the mix of steroids, this gladiator mentality that we have, the way the public treats us that, you know, we're not held to any rules of society. Bill, that is a really lethal combination.

O'REILLY: OK, but they call it "roid rage."

STEWART: Right.

O'REILLY: And you know, when you take human growth hormone, or steroids, or both, you don't know how that's going to affect you. Nobody knows how those things — everybody's different. Every physiology is different.

And I contend, because I know athletes who have done this, that your whole personality changes. You can get irrational. You can get really nut crazy fast. If you combine steroids with recreational drugs like cocaine and things like that, which I understand are rife in the pro wrestling community as well. Right?

STEWART: That is correct. And I can tell you from first-hand experience I was not a heavy steroid user. I started in college football using them. And I have used them. And I've experienced roid rage myself.

And it's, quite frankly, it's terrifying. But when you come down from that level of anger, exactly what you went through. Feelings of depression, suicide. And you're right, my God, you mix this with the stress of traveling every day, 300 days a year like professional wrestlers do, the stress of your wife calling you up on the phone when are you coming home, the kids want to see you. The stress of politicking with other wrestlers, and climbing the corporate ladder of wrestling. And you mix that with alcohol and recreational drugs like many wrestlers do, it's a ticking time bomb that I am myself right now calling for the industry to do something. We have to do something.

O'REILLY: Well.

STEWART: As a promoter myself, we have to do something.

O'REILLY: There's no regulation in the industry at all.

STEWART: No.

O'REILLY: I mean, no drug testing of any kind.

STEWART: Well, no, there is drug testing. Vince McMahon in the World Wrestling Entertainment does drug test. And at the AWA, if we have any suspected drug issues with any of our talent, they are immediately terminated that day. I don't even bother with a drug test. I don't want to see you around my company.

O'REILLY: So you're telling me…

STEWART: We are starting to get a little bit better.

O'REILLY: …that all of these guys are tested for cocaine or any opiates or anything like that on a regular basis? Because I never heard of that before.

STEWART: The performers with the World Wrestling Entertainment are tested on a routine basis for all kinds of illegal narcotics. That is a fact.

O'REILLY: But not steroids or human growth or any of that?

STEWART: That I can't honestly say.

O'REILLY: I don't think so. All right, here's an unbelievable stat. Since 1997, ten years ago, more than 60 current or former professional wrestlers, all 45 years or younger, have died from assorted causes, drug overdoses, blah, blah, blah.

STEWART: Right.

O'REILLY: I mean, that is amazing. All under 45.

STEWART: Right.

O'REILLY: Sixty dead. What do you attribute that to?

STEWART: Right. Well, the lifestyle. You know, we in the industry call it the sickness. And again, I'm calling for help here. You know, this mix of 20 years of steroid use, cocaine, drugs, alcohol, partying with the guys after the matches. You can't do that for 20 years. Their heart is going fail.

And then we go out there every night. And we're like gladiators. And the next morning, we're taking a flight. We're in the gym with this constant pressure on our cardiovascular system.

And then on top of that, you know, the drinking and driving and all of the other things that come with living the life of a rock star. It's just — you can't do it. And at some point, you know, we have to realize that the trains have collided. Our industry is spiraling out of control. My AWA — my woman's champion, 47 years old, Sherry Martel, died last week of an apparent overdose. Bill, it's madness.

O'REILLY: Overdose of what?

STEWART: I have no idea. I have not seen the coroner's report.

O'REILLY: It is madness. I think you're right. I think it's madness. I think the whole thing is madness. I always felt that way. And I hope that somebody does something about it. You know what's heartbreaking? We just saw a scene — Benoit and his little kid hugging. And he killed the little kid.

STEWART: Correct.

O'REILLY: Mr. Stewart, thanks very much.

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