Hart's family blames pro-wrestling hype for death

The family of Canadian wrestler Owen Hart is blaming promoters at the World Wrestling Federation for his death. Hart, known to his fans as the "Blue Blazer," was killed Sunday night just before a match in Kansas City.

The Calgary native was preparing to be lowered into the ring by a cable for his WWF event when he suddenly fell 18 metres, hitting his head on a turnbuckle. It appears the cable wasn't properly attached.

He was given CPR in the ring, then taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

At first, spectators weren't sure if the mishap wasn't part of the theatre of pro wrestling. Although the event was televised on pay-per-view the accident wasn't shown on the telecast.

The show continued after Hart's fatal fall.

Hart, younger brother of World Championship wrestler Bret "The Hitman" Hart, was the youngest of 12 children. He is survived by his wife Martha and two children.

Hart's father Stu, also a former wrestler, is looking for answers and waiting to see what the Federation's investigation turns up. He says somebody was careless.

Owen's brother Ron blames the accident on the Wrestling Federation's constant search for more spectacular stunts and higher ratings. He says the WWF promoters went too far and put Owen at risk, in order to improve their show's ratings.

In a statement on its website, the World Wrestling Federation said it would have little information on how the mishap occurred until an investigation is completed.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Hart family," said the statement. "We have to be strong for Owen; he was an extraordinary human being and consummate performer and knows that the highest tribute that we can pay is to go on entertaining the fans he loved so much."