The Tragedy of the Von Erich Brothers
Kevin Von Erich on being the last of his brothers left alive..
“My brothers and I lived real dangerously.
We were a really reckless group always showing off for each other – like walking on bridges in Japan and taking every chance we could. We were just young kids. I’m really surprised that I survived…
We used to have this thing called the ‘chance of the day’, where every day we’d take a chance on our lives. Dave was always too smart for that, so he’d just watch. We’d jump on wild bulls’ backs, jump on trains going fast. We’d get on a roof of a car at highway speed. You start thinking nothing can get you and you’re indestructible. That’s part of being in sports. We were blessed with good bodies and good balance. We felt like we could do anything and nothing would hurt us.
My father was not a real brutal man like they try to play him out to be in some of those gossip rags. I was there. I remember back when my dad was a bad guy in wrestling…my brothers and I would go to school and the bigger kids would watch wrestling on Saturday night and get even on Monday. We fought together and the family who fights together would not only get good at fighting, it gets really close.
I don’t remember my parents being really super strict or abusive in any way at all. I remember a real happy childhood full of running in the Texas sun, just us and nature. We didn’t even wear clothes until we went to school. We were so far out in the country. We didn’t even have any school chums.
Mike was into painkillers. All the brothers had painkillers prescribed by doctors. Kerry was the only one who got into illegal drugs [that weren’t prescribed.]
The best way to handle pain is to grit your teeth and put ice on it. If you take one pill, next time it’ll be two of them and the next it’s going to be three. It’s just a crack in the door. It’s just the crack in the door that gets wider and wider…
Kerry figured he didn’t have anything to live for. He was rootless. He had no home. Seeing me with my family made his pain greater. It reminded him of what he was missing. It was such a sad, tragic thing. He had his two beautiful daughters and a wife he loved, but then he’d come home and all his stuff would be moved out. She’d move all his stuff out. Kerry was no saint [but] they both treated each other kind of rough. He had pretty much come to an understanding the day he killed himself. He just left having lunch with Kathy, his wife. Kerry was going to jail and he was afraid of never seeing his girls again.
He said, ‘Kevin, I’m about to kill myself…’