Olympic diver, 32, dies following lung infection
Brazil's Ian Matos, who represented his country at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, has died from a lung infection which he had battled for two months in hospital.
Matos, who competed in the men’s synchronized three-metre springboard event in his home country's Olympics five years ago, had named Team GB Olympic champion Tom Daley as a source of inspiration.
The 32-year-old passed away after a sudden deterioration in his health following a throat infection that spread to both his stomach and lungs.
The diving sensation had emerged from a crowded field of hopefuls to qualify for the synchronized springboard event in 2016, where he finished eighth alongside diving partner Luiz Outerelo.
Matos also collected three bronze medals at the 2010 South American Games.
His death was noted by Brazil's Olympic Committee, which paid tribute and acknowledged his prolonged commitment to helping the growth of Brazilian diving.
"We are profoundly saddened to have received the news of the premature death of the Olympic diver Ian Matos," they wrote.
Rest in peace Ian Matos 🕊 only 32, such a sad news. ❤️🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/UGFqqVd9kY— best of tom and lance (@dailyblackdaley) December 22, 2021
"Team Brazil acknowledges his contribution to the evolution of the discipline. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends."
Matos, who came out as homosexual in 2013, had noted in previous interviews that he had admired UK diver Daley inside and out of diving after the Brit announced in a YouTube video that he was bisexual in 2013. He has since clarified his sexuality as being gay.
Matos stated in his own declaration that hiding his sexuality had begun to take a heavy toll on his mental health.
He revealed that he has initially been advised to keep his sexuality private for fear of it negatively affecting potential sponsorship deals.
"How sad this loss of Olympic jumper Ian Matos," wrote one fan in response to the news, via translation.
"Super young, one of the first athletes to come out as a homosexual and who defended the LGBTQ movement."
"One of the great graduates of my dear University of Brasilia," said another, while a fellow mourner called Matos's death "very sad".
"Ian Matos was known for defending the LGBTQIA+ movement. May he rest in peace."