A Star Shattered: Chapter Twenty-Four
Leaving Puerto Rico was the best thing for them since it was hell there. Tammy had started drinking again and somas were being sold for a quarter over the counter. She felt it was an easy way to be an addict. However, when they returned home they were broke. They had to spend their own money to survive because their pay only allowed them to eat once a day if they didn’t.
They moved into Tammy’s mothers home and Candido went to work on the indies while Tammy worked for a friends salon as the manager. She had no interest in working in the business following that experience in Puerto Rico. Plus, her weight was drastically different due to her pancreas health issues. Her weight got to 187 pounds at one point. She saw all the negative comments about her weight gain and had to get rid of her computer because it was affecting her so much.
Doing anything in public was nerve wrecking because she didn’t want to be seen in her condition. She describes how awful it feels to run into someone and they can’t hide their disgust at her appearance. Tammy was no longer confident. She lived mostly in sweatpants and was depressed.
Then, Candido got a call to work for TNA, which was owned by Panda Energy. She says that Bob Carter needed a tax write-off and gave the company to Dixie so she could run it. Dusty Rhodes was the booker at the time and he always liked Candido. Candido was really excited to work for TNA. He was excited because the smaller guys were getting a chance to shine there and he felt like it was his time, too. He hung around Dusty often and would start to wear dress pants and dress shirts instead of workout gear to the shows. Dusty even remarked that Candido was looking like Ric Flair, which made Candido smile.
While the pay wasn’t the greatest, they were able to cover their bills and get out of the hole a little bit. Each time Candido came back from the TV tapings he was happier and had great stories to tell Tammy.
Then, Lockdown 2005 happened. Candido had told Tammy it was going to be an easy match. Tammy didn’t buy the pay per view since she had the sour taste in her mouth from Puerto Rico. About thirty minutes later, Candido called and he was frantic. He badly broke his ankle after taking a bump for a dropkick performed by Sonny Siaki. It was a freak injury. He was going to need a titanium plate and several screws in his ankle.
The next day, Candido led the Naturals to the TNA Tag Team Championships in a wheelchair with a cast on his leg. He returned home and was upset thinking that he’d never make it back to TNA and his dreams were over.
The next morning, Candido woke up in pain and it was worse than before. They decided he should take pain pills to combat the pain. However, that wasn’t working. Tammy noticed that his breathing wasn’t very good and sounded congested. She tried to wake him up but he just passed out quickly. She proceeded to call 911. She was with Candido in the ambulance and begged him to say he loved her, and eventually he was able to whisper that out to her. Those would be his last words.
Ten minutes later, the doctor returned to inform the family that Candido had passed away. She didn’t believe it, but when she saw his body, he was gone. He was only 33-years old.
The doctor explained that he has pneumonia, which is common after surgery with a general anesthetic being used. The cause of death was a blood clot. It dislodged from his ankle and traveled to his heart causing a heart attack. Tammy notes that clots can happen if in your in a high altitude after surgery. Candido flew back to New Jersey from Florida two days after the surgery. She doesn’t know if anyone told him to not fly back, nor does she know if anyone knew that he had to fly back to Jersey.
If they had known, they knew several people in Florida that Candido could have stayed with until it was okay to return home on a plane. His death was the worse day of her life. Without Candido, she didn’t know what she’d do. It didn’t get any better when she met with Candido’s family for his final arraignments and they made the decisions already. They decided he’d be cremated, though Tammy says he wanted to be buried.
She was surprised to see the turnout for the funeral as the entire TNA crew was there, most of the ECW guys, WCW and WWF wrestlers and legends like Terry Funk. Tammy doesn’t know if Candido realized how many people respected him. He’d been shocked to see everyone.
The funeral was made worse when Candido’s mother told Tammy that this was all her fault and that it should be her dead and not her son.
She got Candido’s final TNA check for the PPV and it was $1,500 but she wasn’t allowed to cash it. She needed them to make the check out to her so she could pay off Candido’s bills. However, she was informed that they couldn’t do that because they weren’t legally married. Tammy was stuck with the bills. She hated the company after that. They did send her a ham, though. Perhaps if she sliced the ham out to the bill collectors they would accept it as a form of payment.
She tossed the ham out. Dixie Carter even pulled her aside and said that if she could do anything for her to let her know. Tammy wonders how true that was if she couldn’t even get the $1,500. She would never take a job for TNA after that whole ordeal.
Chapter Twenty-Five coming soon…