Daniel “Keemstar” Keem, the prominent YouTuber and creator, has celebrated the life and trailblazing work of Technoblade, the wildly popular Minecraft player who died at the age of 23 following a battle with cancer.

Technoblade began uploading Minecraft videos to YouTube in 2013 and grew a dedicated audience over several years. But his profile really exploded around 2019 when he won several installments of “Minecraft Monday,” a weekly tournament hosted by Keemstar.

In a video message, Keemstar spoke about how “Minecraft Monday” began as a joke among fans of the popular online tournaments he hosted for games that were considered more “legitimate” esports, such as Fortnite. The general attitude towards Minecraft at the time, Keemstar says, was that it “could never be considered an esport. From the outside looking in, the skill difference between the best player in the world and an average person playing the game, you’d think would be very, very slim.”

But Technoblade changed all that. “He destroyed everyone,” Keemstar says of Technoblade’s prowess in the “Minecraft Monday” tournament. “And that’s when I realized, ‘Oh my god, there are actual levels to this. There are people that can be considered esport Minecraft players. And that is a guy like Technoblade.’”

Technoblade turned out to be so dominant that Keemstar and the organizers, in an effort to level the playing field, asked Technoblade if he would play on teams with markedly worse players. He did — and he still won. 

“The kid was awesome,” Keemstar says. “As an esport player, absolute legend. The best [player versus player] Minecraft player I’ve ever seen and the world has ever known. As a person, the best person — never complained, always looking to help people, always trying to make sure people are laughing and having a good time. The kid was an absolute legend. And he created competitive Minecraft, in my opinion. Did it exist before him? Sure. But he’s the one that showed the world, that showed everyone in the community, that this was actually a thing. He was better than anyone.”

Technoblade revealed his cancer diagnosis in Aug. 2021. At the time, he said he’d been experiencing pain in his right arm, which he just assumed was from a stress injury tied to gaming. It was after his shoulder started swelling that he went to a hospital and was diagnosed with cancer. 

Technoblade’s family announced his death in a YouTube video, in which his father read a letter Technoblade wrote before his death. In the letter, the creator finally revealed his first name, Alex, a long-kept secret amidst his massive popularity.

“If I had another 100 lives, I think I would choose to be Technoblade again every single time because those were the happiest years of my life,” Alex wrote. “I hope you guys enjoyed my content, and that I made some of you laugh. And I hope you all go on to live long, prosperous, and happy lives, because I love you guys.”