On Friday, Hi-Rez startled the SMITE community by abruptly postponing all of its esports events for the weekend, a move made more bizarre by the fact that the company wouldn’t say why. That had led to speculation about everything from a possible legal scandal to a bitcoin snafu. But I’m sorry to report today that the real reason is much worse: A member of the Hi-Rez team passed away.
Hi-Rez CEO Stewart Chisam announced to the community this morning that Hi-Rez esports staff caster John Finch passed away on Thursday. He was only 28. Chisam says that Finch was chosen as an “anchor member” of the Hi-Rez esports casting team thanks to his epic performance during the studio’s 2017 talent competition, and he’d consequently become a beloved member of the staff and community.
The company asks players to give Finch’s staff and family time and respect, noting that SMITE Pro League and SMITE Challenger Circuit matches for the rest of the week have also been postponed. “This is a huge loss for our esports family,” he says, promising some sort of future memorial as well. “We will communicate news at a later time as to when and how we will reboot the SPL season.”
Our sympathies extend to the Hi-Rez staff and community.
Here is John’s introduction interview on the Caster from 2017. https://t.co/C6vQEdkhFb
— Stewart Chisam (@schisam) May 23, 2021
Our esports family is deeply saddened to share this news with all of you.
John Finch was one of the best among us. He will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/MOaSlJHUHL
— SmitePro (@SmitePro) May 23, 2021
We want to share #TheDarkEnchantress Update Show plans with you:
On Wednesday, we will have our Update Pre-Show, honoring @Finchcaster, followed by a full Morgan Le Fay reveal. We will go over the Balance and Skins on Friday at 11AM ET on https://t.co/hIMa3PrLCR pic.twitter.com/S2dN6Qv9j3
— SMITE (@SMITEGame) May 25, 2021