28-years-old sumo wrestler dies after being infected with coronavirus

Sumo westler Shobushi is pictured on Feb. 11, 2018. (Kyodo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, May 13, 2020, Kyodo. A 28-year-old sumo wrestler from the sport’s fourth-highest division died early Wednesday morning due to multiple organ failure caused by the novel coronavirus, the Japan Sumo Association said, The Mainichi reported.

Shobushi, whose real name was Kiyotaka Suetake, is the first sumo wrestler to die from the pneumonia-causing virus. He is also thought to be the first person in their 20s to die from the virus in Japan.

The Yamanashi Prefecture native became the first sumo wrestler to test positive for the novel coronavirus on April 10. According to the JSA, his condition worsened on April 19 and he was treated at an intensive care unit at a hospital in Tokyo.

Shobushi made his professional debut in 2007 out of the Takadagawa stable and reached the No. 11 rank in the sandanme division.

“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.”

The Takadagawa stablemaster and Shobushi’s stablemate Hakuyozan also tested positive for the coronavirus but both have already been discharged from hospital.

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament scheduled to take place from May 24 to June 7 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan was cancelled earlier this month over fears of further spreading the virus.

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