Erik Salzenstein Obituary, Death – It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you the news that my beloved brother and close friend, Erik Salzenstein, passed away two days ago. Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss. It would be an understatement to say that my brother was a unique individual. We were born 17 years apart, so it’s safe to say that I was his big brother.
From the moment he was born, I felt a great connection to him and his lovely spirit, and it quickly became one of my life’s purposes to be a guiding light for him. I feel like I’ve known him since the day he was born. In the year 2000, when I was in the middle of my 20s and making a comeback to the professional tour following two surgeries, one of my most treasured childhood memories of Erik took place… When she was 10 years old, “Little E” was in Tallahassee, Florida with my father to watch me compete in a Pro Challenger tennis event at Florida State University. I’ll never forget him dribbling his basketball all around the tennis center while calling himself “E-dawg” while wearing his helmet backwards and referring to himself as “E-dawg.” What a talented individual…I see him as the next Steve Nash. After some time had passed, our relationship as brothers began what would become a winding and up and down path as he navigated the terrible struggle with addiction that he was facing. In 2007, when I was nearing the conclusion of my career as a professional tennis player, I made a decisive change in my life in order to assist my brother, who was a senior in high school at the time, in his recovery from addiction at a time when he required it the most. And that defining moment served as a significant impetus for my own personal development…
I will be grateful to him for the rest of my life for sharing that leg of the journey with me. Even though there were times when we had little to no communication with one another for months or even years, I knew in my heart that I was always ready and willing to be right by his side on his journey to recovery. I went to see him in a maximum security prison not far from Tallahassee, Florida, in 2015, when he had served about a third of his sentence for a total of four years behind bars (ironically enough). I can still see the expression on his face as I gazed into his stunningly blue eyes…
I was able to observe and get the distinct impression that he was “all in” when it came to making a positive difference and having an impact on the world. We spent the following four years being as close as two brothers possibly could be to one another… the profound bond we shared is indescribable. The roles of big brother, coach, mentor, confidant, cornerman, spiritual advisor, best buddy, and biggest fan were all ones that I was more than glad to fill. We really did work some kind of miracles together, man… Because of his resilience, his bravery, and his openness to being vulnerable, I was so proud of him. I watched as Erik moved closer to himself in order to perform the exercise on himself. I was able to observe him concentrating diligently on his own personal and professional growth and development. I saw him have a favorable influence on a great number of the people around him. His enthusiasm was contagious, and he had the ability to capture any audience with his extroverted charm, quick wit, wicked smarts, contagious sense of humor and smile, and wickedly intelligent mind.
Erik was purposefully dedicated to assisting others and was eager to offer the many special abilities he possessed. I found myself frequently awestruck by his presence and the way in which “His-Story” was progressing. In several of our interactions, I had the impression that I was the one who should be the one teaching him, rather than the other way around. Every opportunity that presented itself, I would brag about my brother and tell everyone about the amazing things he was going to do to alter the world. I pictured the two of us performing on stages together and inspiring other people. I told everybody who would listen to me that Erik was the most successful client I’ve ever had as a coach. Everyone around Erik saw him as a guiding light in their lives.
It was no surprise that he emerged from nowhere to triumph in a famous public speaking competition directed by Pete Vargas III since he possessed the “IT” element. In the end, this led to Erik being invited to give a lecture at TEDx, which finally began his speaking and coaching career.
The time after he won the speaking contest when we gave each other that big bear hug that you can see in the images was the moment that brought us together the most. I can’t tell you how badly I want to give you another big bear hug, Erik. Watching Erik take in all of the information like a sponge, hungry to make his mark as a successful entrepreneur who helps millions of people around the world, is one of the most endearing memories I have of my time spent with Erik. I was able to get him into rooms with some of the top marketing minds in the world. His spectacular rise in the area of online business counseling was without precedent, and it was an honor for me to be able to see his journey from the front row. Over the past few years, we have become increasingly distant from one another, and the fact that we were unable to preserve the profound and genuine connection that we shared greatly saddens me. I had a lot of trouble coming to terms with this because Erik was “my boy,” and I had a lot of feelings for him. I wanted, more than anything in the world, to be the one he called “his guy” and to share with him for the next half-century that incredible path of accomplishment, development, and healing. I want you to know, Erik, that you are loved and cherished a great deal. Always and forever, we carry your spirit with us. I shall remember you with respect from this day forward, and I will incorporate the knowledge I gained from working with you into my journey. We are grateful that you have been a beacon of hope for our family and for everyone else whose life you have touched. I am aware that you are constantly present among us. I am grateful that you have shared your light with the world. I love you, my Lil Bro.
Your Older Brother,