'He was so caring' - Tributes to former Preston City Wrestling champion Adrian 'Lionheart' McCallum, who has died aged 36

2013: 30-man rumble winner Lionheart shakes hands with PCW owner and promoter Steven Fludder at PCW's Springslam event at Lava & Ignite, Preston. Pictures courtesy of Gordon Harris
2013: 30-man rumble winner Lionheart shakes hands with PCW owner and promoter Steven Fludder at PCW's Springslam event at Lava & Ignite, Preston. Pictures courtesy of Gordon Harris
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Tributes have been paid to a former PCW (Preston City Wrestling) champion who has died.

Adrian McCallum - known by his ring name Lionheart - died on Wednesday, June 19 at the age of 36.

McCallum held the PCW Heavyweight Championship twice in 2012 and 2013.

READ MORE: Former Preston City Wrestling champion Adrian McCallum, known as Lionheart, dies aged 36
Former Preston Coun Drew Gale, a close friend of Adrian’s and a once guest PCW wrestler at a charity fund-raiser show, said he was “absolutely devastated”.

“He was so empathetic, caring and a genuinely nice person,” said Drew, who revealed he last spoke to Adrian on Monday.

“I knew both sides to him, the professional and the personal.

2016: Preston City Wrestling Club held a free event at Preston Flag Market to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Jack Garvin gets a flying kick from Lionheart

2016: Preston City Wrestling Club held a free event at Preston Flag Market to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Jack Garvin gets a flying kick from Lionheart

"In the ring he was one of the most impressive talents I’ve ever seen. Not just in his craft but his attention to detail especially when playing the bad guy and getting the crowd involved.

“But being the bad guy couldn’t be more removed from his actual personality. He was superb. He should have been up their on the bigger stage with one of the big shows in the United States.

“I’m going to genuinely miss him, our little chats, the pictures he used to send me of his dog.

“When my wife was ill in the last few years he always contacted me and asked how she was. It’s just the kind of guy he was.”

In 2014, McCallum was seriously injured after breaking his neck in a bout against WWE superstar AJ Styles.

He told The Sun at the time: "When they looked at photos of what actually happened and the physicality of the move they don’t know how I got up from that."

Not only did McCallum recover from the neck break, he re-entered the ring to compete once more.

"To come back after the neck break was unheard of," said Drew.

"It was a ridiculous achievement.

"Now my thoughts are for his loved ones. He was a larger than life character; a really warm and caring human being that everyone liked."

No further details about McCallum's death have been released at this point.

WWE wrestler Cedric Alexander said he was "crushed" to hear of McCallum's death, while fellow WWE star Paige - real name Saraya-Jade Bevis - said she would be "forever grateful" to have known him.