The short, strange life of an original viral star
Today, we live in a world where wedding proposals are elaborate productions, tantrums aren't discouraged but disseminated, and there's always a danger of a flash mob breaking out. But back in 2006, when YouTube was still relatively new, one Renaissance man helped define the term "viral star." But when Aleksey Vayner died of unknown causes in New York last Saturday, he was a man who defined his moment of notoriety as "rock bottom," a man who just last year changed his name to avoid association with the one that had briefly made him famous. A man claiming to be a relative told Gawker, "It looks like he took some drugs or medicine, had a heart attack, a friend of his drove him to the hospital, and they couldn't resuscitate him."