ATLANTA – A former wrestler was found dead in his home after suffering an apparent accidental drug overdose, his father said.
Chase Tatum, 34, was found dead Sunday in his home in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood, his father, Roy Tatum, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Chase Tatum used to wrestle for the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling organization. More recently, he appeared in the comedy "Who's Your Caddy?" alongside rapper Big Boi of Outkast.
Chase Tatum had been recovering from back surgery to repair a degenerative disc. His father said the former wrestler had been fighting a dependence to painkillers for years but had been planning to enter a rehabilitation center.
"He was in the process of getting his life back together," Roy Tatum said Monday. "He was confident he was going to turn things around, to live a normal life again without those painkillers."
A toxicology report has been ordered by the Fulton County Medical Examiner, which will take about six to eight weeks, said Laura Salm, an investigator with the coroner's office.
Chase Tatum was 19 when he won the Mr. Georgia bodybuilding competition. He began a career as a personal trainer, which he continued until his death.
Chase Tatum's wrestling career was unplanned and short-lived.
One of his clients was a WCW personality who encouraged him to audition. Chase Tatum was accepted on his first try and debuted in 1999.
But his father advised his son against becoming a pro wrestler.
"How long can you last in that field?" Roy Tatum said. "They go in with their eyes closed, think they'll make some quick money and then get out."
Chase Tatum retired from wrestling after about two-and-a-half years. However, his brief wrestling career left him with severe back problems but without health insurance to pay for the surgery. Painkillers kept him going, his father said.
In addition to acting and wrestling, Chase Tatum also worked as a road manager and personal assistant for Outkast.