A 28-year-old sumo wrestler died on Wednesday from the coronavirus.
The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) confirmed the death and identified the wrestler as Shobushi, whose real name was Kiyotaka Suetake. The association said he died of multiple-organ failure. He is reported to have been the first sumo wrestler to die from the virus, and the first person in his 20s to die in Japan from Covid-19.
The JSA said the wrestler developed a fever on 4 April but could not get a test or find a hospital until his symptoms worsened and he was accepted four days later. He was moved to an intensive care unit on April 19. The JSA said he suffered from diabetes.
“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.”
Shobushi made his professional sumo debut in 2007 and reached No11 in the rankings in the sandanme division, the fourth-highest tier in sumo. He fought out of the Takadagawa stable, where six other people tested positive for Covid-19. Two of those were subsequently treated and released from hospital, according to the Japan Times.
The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament scheduled to take place from 24 May to 7 June at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan was canceled earlier this month over fears of further spreading the virus. A large event later this summer is still scheduled to go ahead and is to be held without spectators.
Japan has recorded almost 16,000 cases of Covid-19 and 657 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University