On Nov. 10, Korea saw its first snowfall of the year. That same day, Overwatch pro Kim “Alarm” Kyeong-bo’s family, friends and teammates gathered to say goodbye to him.
“The first snow fell today in Seoul, then the sun got bright and warm,” Alarm’s former coach Sim “Mobydik” Seung-bo wrote on Twitter. “I was thinking that it would now be easier for you to make your way to your destination. All of your favorite family — your older brother, younger sibling, friends … everyone dressed well to see you go today.”
Others, including Alarm’s former teammate Kim “Fury” Jun-ho, shared their own sentiments.
“You always joked around like a little brother, and no matter what other people said you worked hard and did well,” Fury said on Instagram. “It hurts my heart to have to send you off on such a cold day like this.”
While he was with us, Alarm was many things to many people — a friend, a son, a brother, a hero. The Philadelphia Fusion shared the news of his sudden and tragic death on Nov. 7. He was 20 years old.
Alarm began playing Overwatch professionally in 2016. He started as a main tank player — something that seems truly impossible to believe now, given the trajectory of his career — before switching to the flex support role in 2017. He floated around Korean teams for a while before joining the Philadelphia Fusion’s academy team, Fusion University.
His career really began to pick up steam with the move. Fusion University was the most dominant team in North American Contenders for nearly two years, winning every major domestic tournament they played — and Alarm was at the heart of it all. His raw mechanics, gamesense and out-of-game maturity were well beyond his years. It was obvious just from watching him that he was something special.
“I remember playing against you before you were in OWL,” former Overwatch pro Ted “silkthread” Wang wrote in a tweet addressed to Alarm. “I thought to myself that you were going to be the best player in the game one day.”
At the tail end of 2019, just after he turned 18, Alarm wrote a letter of encouragement to his future teammate, Gael “Poko” Gouzerch. You could tell he was full of hopes and dreams for the future, and he was determined to make them all come true. That he had his eyes on the stars and he knew that if he worked hard enough, someday, he would be able to reach out and grab them.
— Poko (@poko) September 2, 2020
“Kyeong-bo’s uncle asked me to pass on his greetings and gratitude for everyone who came to the funeral,” wrote former Fusion coach Kim “NineK” Bum-hoon on Twitter after Alarm’s funeral. “Kyeong-bo left our side much too soon, but thanks to all the fans’ encouragement and love, his parents were able to send him off peacefully having known that he has lived a more precious life than any long-lived person.”
During his five-year career, Alarm won seven titles and the Overwatch League Rookie of the Year award. He was one of those rare players who never had a slump or a rough patch. Even if his team was struggling, he was always their bright spot. From the moment he joined the Overwatch League, he reshaped the flex support role, and for two years, he was a strong contender for best in the world.
But he was also much more than his personal achievements. Alarm had an impact on many people in the scene, regardless of whether they knew him personally or not. His skill and dedication were a source of inspiration for thousands of others. After his death, current and former players from all over the Overwatch scene shared their condolences for a person whose talent had galvanized them all to be better, time and time again.
idk man this is just so unbelieveably sad he inspired me and many others to get on his lvl, im just so done… rest in peace https://t.co/HeV1btMpDT
— Kaan (@Kaan_ow) November 8, 2021
“This is just so unbelievably sad,” Paris Eternal flex support Emir “Kaan” Okumus wrote on Twitter. “He inspired me and many others to get on his [level].”
“Absolutely devastating,” Boston Uprising flex support William “Crimzo” Hernandez wrote on Twitter. “My biggest inspiration and someone I’ve always looked up to since the days we battled it out in Contenders.”
By all accounts Alarm was both fun-loving and highly motivated. He was kind to everyone he encountered and remained humble despite his immense talent. Nobody ever had a bad word to say about him.
“Out of everyone I have met throughout my life Alarm was one of the nicest and kindest people I encountered,” wrote his former teammate Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher on Twitter. “It’s very rare you can know someone for years and only have positive memories and experiences with them.”
As for his career as a pro player, Alarm loved Overwatch. His dedication to the game and his teammates shone through in everything he did. When he was told that he had won the Rookie of the Year award, he quickly dissolved into tears.
“Sorry, I teared up a bit,” he said, smiling wide. “I am so happy that it makes me cry.”
It’s hard to accurately capture the extent to which Alarm’s death has impacted the Overwatch community. He was one of the brightest young talents in the scene, and he left behind an emptiness that will be felt for a long time to come. In just five short years, he had already become among the best in the world at what he did. There’s no telling what else he could have done with more time.
A week before Alarm’s death, a fan asked him on Discord how long he planned to play Overwatch professionally.
“Until I’m 25,” he wrote back. “Just kidding. I’ll play forever.”