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13 May, 2020 10:19

'Shobushi' becomes 1st SUMO wrestler to DIE from coronavirus in Japan aged 28

'Shobushi' becomes 1st SUMO wrestler to DIE from coronavirus in Japan aged 28

Sumo wrestler Shobushi has become the first practitioner of the Japanese martial art to die from the coronavirus. The 28-year-old suffered multiple organ failure on Wednesday after falling ill with the disease last month.

The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) announced on Wednesday that Shobushi, real name Kiyotaka Suetake, was admitted to a Tokyo hospital with Covid-19 infection on April 10, the Japan Times reports

An initial test for coronavirus came back negative, despite the wrestler reportedly coughing up blood, but then a follow-up showed up positive. Following a worsening of his condition, Shobushi was moved to an intensive care unit but later died.

As well as becoming the first sumo wrestler, or 'rikishi', to die from the virus, Shobushi is also thought to be the first person in their 20s to die from the coronavirus in Japan.

"I can only imagine how hard it must have been, battling illness for over a month, but like a wrestler he endured it bravely and fought the disease until the end," JSA Chairman Hakkaku said. "I just want him to rest peacefully now."

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Shobushi made his professional debut while still only a teenager in 2007 and fought out of the Takadagawa stable, reaching a rank of number 11 in the sport’s fourth-tier 'sandanme' division. He was known for his 'comedy' acts at shows.

Japan has one of the lowest death rates from Covid-19 among major developed countries, having registered 678 confirmed fatalities from 16,049 recorded cases of infection.