The news was broken by wrestling writer Pat Laprade via Facebook that former IWA World Heavyweight Champion Alexis Smirnoff, real name Michel Lamarche passed away at the age of 71-years old today. The Saint-Lin, Quebec, Canada native passed away in Palliative Care in Marietta, Georgia. It was posted on the Cauliflower Alley Club Facebook page on January 4th that Alexis Smirnoff was in hospice care because of kidney failure and for everyone to keep him in their prayers and today he succumbed to the kidney failure. The following excerpt is from Pat Laprade's article about the passing of Smirnoff which was translated from French:
Unfortunately, Lamarche died Saturday, Jan. 5, at around noon, at a palliative care center in Atlanta, Georgia. He was accompanied for his last rest by his wife of the last 41 years, Julie, and her daughter Chantale. He had diabetes for several years - he had even had one leg amputated - the disease had attacked his kidneys recently. He made several trips to the hospital in the last year, the last of which he had been diagnosed that his kidneys and bladder had been attacked and that there was nothing left to do. He spent Christmas with his family at home, but some time later, his loins completely let go. He had also lost the use of speech during this attack which proved fatal. His family says, however, that he died with a smile.
Smirnoff began training to become a professional wrestler in Canada and after gaining experience he went on to work around Kansas City before returning to his home-country to wrestle there. Smirnoff also has history with the National Wrestling Alliance in-which he captured a number of championships in various territories. Smirnoff was well traveled as he toured with the IWA in Japan three times before returning to the United States and worked in the AWA towards the end of his in-ring career. Smirnoff came out and competed at a 'North American Wrestling' show in 2005 and picked up a win over 'Rage' and that was the last sanctioned match he had since 1999 and today the 71-year old former NWA Georgia Tag Team Champion passed away.
Condolences to the family and friends of Michel Lamarche.