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Pornstar Erik Rhodes dies at age 30


Pornstar Erik Rhodes dies at age 30

Falcon Studios posts news of death on its blog
Gay pornstar Erik Rhodes died this morning, June 14, after suffering a heart attack in his sleep.
Rhodes made his porn debut in 2004 before signing on as a lifetime exclusive with Falcon Studios, where he earned a devoted following. His performances were critically acclaimed, even earning an XBIZ Award in 2009 for GLBT performer of the year. He appeared in Bruce LaBruce’s film LA Zombie.  

As lauded as Rhodes was, his career wasn't without controversy; he was known for expressing controversial opinions on his blogs. Like all of us, he had his demons and his problems, but he always seemed to soldier on regardless.
A blog site, attributed to Rhodes and entitled A Romance with Misery, contains posts about his battle with addictions and loneliness. 
The site reads:  
“My name is James . . . I have worked in the adult entertainment industry for the last 7 years of my life under the name Erik Rhodes. I'm not sure how I ended up here, and I don't know how i have survived this long . . . all i do know is that it can be a very lonely place and sometimes i need a blog to get shit off my chest. So take it or leave it . . . Here it is.”   
There has been an outpouring of love for Rhodes today on blogs and social media. Despite what his detractors say, he touched the lives of many, and he was known by his family and friends as a kind-hearted, warm and funny man. The number of people grieving over this loss speaks volumes about his character.

Whether you knew him personally or as a fan, it’s important to remember that a human being has died today, someone with a family who loved him and friends who supported him. 

Rest in peace, Erik Rhodes. You’re gone too soon. 

Below is an interview Rhodes did with Eddie Stone and Sister Roma of HardTV at the Grabby Awards on May 26, 2012.
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New York Times article
The New York Times published an article on June 20 that documents the sad decline and dissipation of Erik Rhodes. These lines sum it up: (quote) Mr. Rhodes took a stream of low-paying jobs, working at a CVS and a sex-toy store, before moving into stripping and then pornographic films at 22... But as the Web replaced video stores as the delivery mechanism for adult content, Mr. Rhodes found his salary shrinking, even while his celebrity rose... Things went from bad to worse. Mr. Rhodes got into fights with boyfriends, and the police would be called. Famous friends like Mr. Jacobs, who did not respond to calls for comment for this article, fell away. Mr. Rhodes went from using steroids to dealing them. And then, a few years ago, he tested positive for HIV... On June 13, after a night in which Mr. Rhodes was hired along with another escort to perform for a wealthy client (according to text messages later read by his brother), the two men continued the evening on their own, having sex and doing drugs. But Mr. Rhodes quickly realized that he was not feeling well and cut the evening short.
Once home, he apparently went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead in a hospital shortly thereafter... (end of quote). See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/fashion/erik-rhodess-death-was-early-but-perhaps-not-surprising.html I don't judge him. I think decline and dissipation is the reality for the lives of many gay men, despite all the advances of the LGBT community in societal acceptance and legal equality.
If Only ...
Years ago, and at the height of his fame, Erik Rhodes looked at one of my profiles on a sex site. I couldn't believe it.

I wrote him back, and told him how just the simple act of him glancing at my profile made me happy. Of course, I also complimented him on his work.

I did not expect a reply to that email, but he did -- and his message was something like "never underestimate how hot you are, just don't be a dick about it."

I think that summed up how he felt about his own physical beauty -- you can be blessed with good looks, and work on the perfect body -- but don't be arrogant about what the world sees.

I wonder if Erik had one great love in his life, if the outcome to his early death could have been prevented. He was a beautiful and tender hearted man that eventually became detached from what mattered most in life. The optimist in me believes he could have been saved.

His passing reveals the darker side of the adult industry, and the high price some performers pay for fame and success. His pain, articulated in his blogs, is evident.

We sit at home, stroking our cocks to porn late at night sometimes thinking what a glamourous life ... what a lucky guy to be fucking men for a living ... but it's all fantasy. The reality is quite different.

Rest in peace, Erik. We will miss you.
Totally agree Gary. It's like there is a code of silence in the gay community. People will see their friends doing roids and looking like overgrown apes and somehow that look is hot? Or a buddy overdoses on recreational drugs at bathhouse, or are reduced to selling their bodies to pay the rent, deep in debt, couch surfing at 35, taking too much GHB and shitting themselves in nightclubs, et al. But instead of speaking up or personally cautioning someone...we let it go. Ignore the situation completely. Then when they die, it's almost like that never happened either. Like in the 80's when someone died of AIDS, everyone would be told it was Cancer. But it ends up being another loss to the community, one more link gone. Very sad indeed.
What a great example of how sad (i.e. situations arising from the decline of intelligence, class, morals, decorum and conscience in the gay community) things have become for us.
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