Sumo wrestler Shobushi, 28, is the sport’s first coronavirus death

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Shobushi, whose real name was Kiyotaka Suetake, died of multiple organ failure after a pneumonia attack, announced the Japan Sumo Association (JSA).

The wrestler developed a fever on April 4, but struggled for hospital treatment due to a flood of similar complaints from other potential patients.

After being removed from some hospitals, Shobushi was hospitalized only on April 8th.

He had been in intensive care since April 19, but his condition worsened and he died on Wednesday.

“He has fought tenaciously against the disease, enduring pain and suffering for more than a month as a sumo wrestler,” said the Japanese Sumo Association in a statement on Wednesday.

“We hope he will rest in peace now. We are very grateful to all the medical institutions who have treated him with the utmost care.”

Shobushi made his professional debut in 2007, reaching no. 11 in the Sandanme division.

The wrestler belonged to the Takadagawa stable and competed in the seventh sumo division. There are eleven divisions in all.

Last month, Takadagawa’s stable master – a sumo wrestler trainer – also tested positive for coronavirus. So far, six members of the sumo association have been diagnosed with the virus.

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“I can only imagine how hard it must have been, fighting the disease for over a month, but as a wrestler he bravely endured it and fought the disease to the end,” JSA President Hakkaku She said.

The Sumo Association held its annual March tournament without spectators after the Japanese government requested the cancellation of major sporting events.

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Earlier this month, the sumo association canceled the summer Grand Sumo tournament and changed the venue for its July 2020 tournament. Now it will take place at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan behind closed doors.


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