Gay Porn Superstar Erik Rhodes Dies in New York, Age 30
If everyone is a "star" in the porn industry, there are still a few genuine superstars. Among gay porn players, there have been very few in recent years hotter, physically and status-wise, than Falcon Studio's exclusive Erik Rhodes. In a posting to Rhodes' own Twitter account, there was a brief statement that, at 5:30 a.m. June 14, Rhodes, 30 at the time of his death, was found dead in New York City, the apparent victim of a heart attack.
Born James Elliot in the suburban landscape of Long Island east of the city, Rhodes had only recently celebrated his 30th birthday. Although he apparently died in his sleep, the exact circumstances surrounding his death remain unknown as of this writing.
Headlining in such titles as "The Farmer's Son," "Beefcake," "Ivy League," "Asylum," "Afterparty," "The Pledge Masters," "The Velvet Mafia" and "Best Men," Rhodes' appearances were distinguished not only by his muscular bodybuilder's physique and handsome features, but also by his humor, sexual range, undisputed acting talent and keen professionalism.
Zach Sire, the editor of NakedSword's widely followed adult industry blog The Sword, called Rhodes one the greats, "not only a gay porn star: he was a legend." Commenting on Rhodes' widely-followed Tumblr blog with a title that, in retrospect, seems prophetic, "Erik Rhodes: A Romance With Misery," Sire posthumously wrote, "He loved what he did, even as his public persona detailed his love/hate relationship with the industry. He was perfect -- the complete package -- a true star and a great performer -- with a notorious flair for headlines for personal drama."
"I'm still surprised," Sire said. "Even covering him as I have for the last four years, it is still terrible shock. It means something bigger for the industry too. He was one of the last true stars. It's a great loss."
A Troubled Man's Public Honesty
Unlike many others who preceded him into an early death, Rhodes made no effort to hide his struggles with his personal demons. Using interviews, his Tumblr blog and a personal blog, Portrait of an American Porn Star: James/Erik: Underneath It All, Rhodes publicly recounted the personal toll his career in adult films was taking on him.
"My name is James," Rhodes had once written. "I have worked in the adult entertainment industry for the last seven years of my life under the name Erik Rhodes. I'm not sure how I ended up here, and I don't know how i have survived this long. All i do know is that it can be a very lonely place and sometimes i need a blog to get shit off my chest."
His final entry, posted on June 9, was in response to a fan's questions about his steroid cycle. The answer was shocking: "My cycle right now...3000 mg of Test Enanthate a week, 2500 mg of Nandrolone Decaonate and 300 mg of Trenbolone Acetate. With 5iu of Human Growth Hormone everyday. I'm waiting until i pop. Or my liver to (sic) fails... which every (sic) comes first." Even for a professional bodybuilder, pumping such an extraordinary amount of anabolic steroids would be considered extraordinary.
Rhodes also posted multiple entries over the years on his problems with drugs, alcohol, and depression. In one 2010 entry, Rhodes wrote, "Tuesday night... high on pills, out till 4am. Then basically the rest of the week. I'm not sure how we make it home most nights. I tend to only remember the parts where i have force myself to snap out of letting the pills steal my soul. The part where you just feel like your sinking... and if you don't snap yourself out of it you would just melt away into the floor."
When a fan recently inquired online if he was going to Fire Island that weekend, Rhodes responded, "I'll be in Chicago... Lets see if i can hang onto my sobriety..."