The online gambling world has lost one of its own. Late Thursday, rumors began spreading that Russ ‘The Major’ Hawkins, founder of online gambling forum MajorWager.com, had been killed in a plane crash Thursday afternoon near Cambridge, Ontario. Media coverage from the region reported two men were involved in the crash, with one surviving with non-life-threatening injuries. The dead man was identified as Russell Hawkins, 47, from Guelph, Ontario. The news that this was indeed MajorWager’s Hawkins was confirmed by MajorWager Five Star General ‘clevfan’ early Friday morning.
According to the Guelph Mercury, a Cessna 172 float plane was observed apparently practicing takeoffs and landings on Puslinch Lake, just outside Cambridge. Witnesses claimed the plane then tried another takeoff, but failed to gain enough altitude to clear a bank of trees near the shoreline. The plane reportedly clipped the trees, then a power line, flipped over and crashed into the woods about 100 meters from the lake. One witness claimed the plane had banked at the last second, apparently in a bid to avoid crashing into a house near the shoreline.
Hawkins founded MajorWager in 2000, back when the online gambling business was still an emerging industry, and the site quickly attracted a loyal and vocal following. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.