Sad News About Spleen


Many of you likely remember Spleen. While perhaps not the most prolific member of the GWJ Community, he was an active contributor during the days of BF1942 and Battlefield Vietnam, and then later was a very active member of the GWJ Horde in World of Warcraft.

Many of you may also recall that Spleen shared with GWJ some time ago that he had been fighting cancer for many years, but was still pushing ahead and maintaining a positive frame of mind.

I have known Dean (a.k.a Spleen, or Spleeno to his friends) for many years, first making friends with his younger brother Chris. When Chris moved to Vancouver, Dean and I began to socialize more and I found a friend with great wit, warmth and kindness. Dean was one of my best friends, and while we lived in the same city we rarely saw each other face to face due to distance in the city and busy lives. We predominantly hung out online, games being our social exercise.

Dean was diagnosed with cancer as he turned 30 and has been fighting it for six or seven years. There were many close calls but each time he fought back and it looked like he defeated the cancer. But months later, each time, it would return and punished his body further and further, leaving him in a great deal of discomfort and pain.

As he suffered further we saw each other less frequently. The LAN parties weren't as frequent, and Dean's gigs with his band faded. Some of you may know that Dean was a true musician, a great guitar player and a fantastic singer. My wife and I would go to see Dean and his band play at local bars whenever we could.

My main contact with Dean in the last few years was Instant Messaging, E-Mail and Skype. Unfortunately as life is prone to do, I got busy and found myself playing far fewer games and was only able to exchange notes with Dean every few weeks. He began to find it too difficult to sit and play games at the computer, finding his mobility and comfort limited. Through it all though, each time we touched base it was like we spoke yesterday and we would swap stories of the families, games and common interests.

I would always feel guilty that we hadn't connected more frequently, but Dean would brush it aside as if it was no big deall and focused on the conversation we would have at the time. As time went on, however, Dean was less frequent in his contact/responses to my notes which always concerned me.

I last saw Dean just over a week ago before my family and I headed to Mexico for a winter vacation. A close friend and I dropped by Dean's house to visit, bring the Nintendo Wii for him to see and Guitar Hero for Dean to jam with. Dean was weak and had lost a dramatic amount of weight. He was no longer able to eat and had a hard time playing games. He fell asleep briefly while we were there and was very apologetic, but my friend and I didn't mind -- we were there to hang out and keep Dean company, to cheer him up.

I bought Dean a laptop so he could stay in contact while staying in bed. Before I left for Mexico he sent me an email and then called me later that evening. He was enjoying the wireless Internet access and remarked that it felt much better to be in contact and able to surf the Web and visit GWJ. We planned on getting together on my return from Mexico, where I would bring over my Xbox 360 for him to see Gears of War and to play some Guild Wars together on his laptop and my own. We had a good chat before we let each other go, and in typical Dean fashion he was apologetic and making good spirited jokes about having fallen asleep during our last visit. I promised to connect with him as soon as I returned from Mexico so we could get together. I returned home Friday night and tried contacting him this weekend but wasn't successful, and planned on trying again this morning.

It brings me more sadness than most of you know to share news that Dean passed away early this morning, January 22nd. Dean is survived by his wife Sarah and his two young kids, Miles and Adam. He leaves behind him a loving family that exhibited great strength during his long and unfair battle with cancer. He also leaves behind many caring and loving friends who feel richer and better having known him.

I will miss Dean, my gaming buddy and good friend.

Cheers and Happy Trails Spleeno.


Meeting with you and Dean in Edmonton just over a year ago was a GWJ high point for me. He seemed like just the sort of man you describe here, and he'll be sorely missed. If there is anything we can do to support his family, please let us know.

Godspeed, Dean.

I didn't really know him, but I'm saddened just the same. Condolences to you and his family.


I remember Spleen's posts pretty well, actually. I always tended to read them as though they were spoken by Paul Rubens' character The Spleen from that Ben Stiller superhero comedy. Which, after reading Steve's very touching description of the man, didn't give him NEARLY enough credit.

Steve, the way you describe Dean and your friendship speaks pretty highly of both of you, and sounds like what every co-gamer-become-friendship should be: time spent together virtually and in reality whenever possible, and a healthy respect that real life is made better by both. But real life always wins, both for good and for ill. It sounds like Dean had a hell of a go with it, but managed to remain a great guy and a good friend. It sounds like you're both lucky in that regard.

My condolences to you, Steve, on the loss of your friend; and to Dean's family, whose loss I can't imagine.

Tragic news that unfortunately... and once again, dammit!.. leaves me unable to find a good way to express my regrets. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to bring some small amount of comfort to his family.

Ow, man...

These things will never get easier.

My deepest condolences to Dean's familiy and friends.

The way he handled his misfortune should be a model to us all.



I remember Spleen since earlier days, actually... Regardless of that, his passing is incredibly sad... My deepest condolenses to his family. As a 30-something father of two, I feel and relate to them..

I'm really bad at expressing myself with words when it comes to moments like this.

Cancer is so... so hard to watch someone try and fight and know there's only so much you can do for the person who's dealing with it

Condolences to his family, and to you and all his other friends.

I never knew Spleen, but I am very sorry to hear about this. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

In memory of Spleen, some of his posts.

I quote Python all the time. What's great is my kids are starting to "get it" too.

A group of my friends and family have a virtual code language built out of "Kids In The Hall" quotes as no one else seems to get them, which is too bad. Youtube has been great though for explaining my secret code to others.
Never put salt in your eyes

Earth is destroyed, Last Note

"Thank goodness no one would be foolish enough to use a weapon of such insanely destructive potential!"

What do you collect?

I own multiple copies of the Terry Pratchett library for this exact reason. If my wife or I see a Pratchett book at the used book store we'll likely buy it so when someone inevitably wants to borrow it we can say "keep it" rather than just have it never come back anyway. I've given away at least 4 copies of 'Good Omens' for example.

Spleen played the WoW

Teaching his son to play guitar

Heh, I bought my 7 yr old son an electric guitar a couple weeks ago, a Squire Strat mini. It absolutely rocks. A steal at $130 Canadian too. We took it home to find that my "practice" amp had developed some serious issues in the 6 months + since I had last used it so I went and bought a Zoom Fire 15 practice amp and I can't say enought good things about it. It has several amp models (5150, Bogner, Marshal, Fender etc...) that sound great and a seemingly endless roster of effects. It was 60-70 dollars more than the basic practice amps but WELL worth it. It sounds better at practice volume than my Line 6 Flextone professional rig! Having access to my first single coil guitar (I'm a hardline Les paul man) and this amp has completely rejuvenated my playing and I'm having a ball.

I am teaching my son and it is a challenge. 7 yr old's don't have much attention span, even for something as cool as an electric guitar. Electric was very much his choice. He loves power punk like Green Day etc and so he said he wanted a guitar with "serious tunage". We're not doing Mel Bay or even looking at notes or chords yet. We're concentrating on fretting and being able to move from string to string. It's a slow hard frustrating process that is also fun somehow. If anyone has any tips on teaching youngsters, feel free to pass them along.

Deva, I learned to play guitar from guitar magazine tablature so of course I'll recommend the only thing I know, guitar tablature as a learning tool. Sanj is absolutely right, grab the tab for a few(Easy!!!!) songs you like and start practicing. One AWESOME tool I've found is a program called Powertab. It plays the song in midi along with you and has great printable tablature to boot. Website for the program is available
Then you go to and look on the left for "Browse Tablature." Look by artist or song here and download tabs to your heart's content. Look at the rating of a tab and see if there is a higher rated version of the same song. A lot of this tab is geared towards higher end players but there should be lots of beginner content as well. Chord names are often placed over the tab formations for that chord and if you read music already the actual music notation is there as well. Concentrate on pressing down hard enough to clearly play a chord but not so hard your hand gets stiff.

Here is a pic of my little guy right after we bought the guitar. I thought for quite a while whether to post this or not but none of us are twisted sexual psychos here right? Or at least not the kind who'd even think of harming the most precious thing on Earth to me.

The last thing he read on the site was this page last Thursday.

Spleen will be in my thoughts today.

I am so sorry to hear of his passing.

What a terrible shame.

I only knew Dean in the most superficial of ways, but I did know that he was a musician and I could tell by some of our conversations in the forum that he was a legit player and a class act. We shared some common taste in music, and since I knew he had been experimenting with making some home recordings, I was looking forward to hearing his stuff.

I don't really know what to say, other than to offer my heartfelt condolences to his friends and family. If there's any way that I can help I would be happy to.

Many of you likely remember Spleen.

I sure as hell do. For a second I actually thought about not clicking on this thread.

Oh man, this is incredibly bad and sad news. Please pass on my condolences and wishes to his family.

He was a very, very, good guy. This is really sad news.

His Monty Python "Final Rip-Off" avatar reminded me, I'm awful at remembering names online.

Awful news.

I'll be thinking of his family, and children especially.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss of a friend and Dean's family's loss. I'll keep his family in my prayers. We'll miss him around here.

I've thought about him and his family a lot since he let us know about his illness. He'll be sorely missed and my thoughts are with his family.

This is truly sad news.

I had only the briefest of contact with Spleen during the Guild Wars Alpha and Beta events, but what little time I spent with him stands out as the most enjoyable co-op I've ever had online.

My sincerest condolences to his friends and family. May he rest in peace.

There was a time in WoW that some of the Mobile crew and I played with Spleen and the "Canadians" (Gretz and Marlin) almost nightly. Some of the best times I ever had in the game. "The Miles Show" was always entertaining on Skype. I knew this would eventually happen after learning of Dean's condition, but I'd always hoped he'd find a way to keep beating it. This makes me very, very sad. My deepest condolences to his family.

Many condolences to all, especially his family.

It makes me feel happy that he got to spend his last moments with people he loved and living his life to the fullest. It is sad to see such a sould leaving us so early, but Spleen is the kind of guy who turned lemons into lemonade and remained strong throughout. From the way you describe he is a true gentleman and deserves to be remembered for all time to come. You will be missed Spleen, and my best wishes to the family, i'm sure he will be with you always.

That sucks.

I remember playing BF-V with him one night and a bunch of us started bitching about getting fragged by Spleen. And he kept denying it, which resulted in him getting verbally abused even worse. It went on for awhile before we noticed that there was an "evil spleen doppleganger" on the server, which, as it happened turned out to be my son, who had picked the tag at random and jumped on the server with me from my other PC. We all had a good laugh at that one.

I offer my condolences to his wife and kids.

Very sad news. I hardly knew him personally, but played with him a few times in BF1942 and in WoW. I remember him being a very positive guy with some witty comments. This is hard to take. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. Thanks for letting us know Dramatic Marlin and writing the piece about him.

My deepest sympathies and condolences on the loss of your friend, Marlin, and also to his wife and kids. He was a tremendous personality on these boards, one whose posts always made me smile, and his presence will be sorely missed. Let us know if there's anything we can do. I know it's soon to consider such matters, but I know many GWJers would be honored to contribute to a charity, donation fund, kids' college fund, whatever in Dean's memory.

f*cking cancer.

Sorry, man.

I'm so sorry to hear this. I'll N-th the request for any pointers to something we can do for the family.

Damn...just, damn. Thanks for letting us know, Marlin. His family will be in my thoughts today, that's for sure.

And I'm with the folks offering to do something for the family, even if it's just emotional support for Dean's wife, kids, and other family members.