Katsuya Kitamura dead aged 36: Ex-Rizin MMA star and wrestler dies suddenly after being taken to hospital
Japanese wrestling and MMA star Katsuya Kitamura has sadly passed away.
The cause of death is not yet known for the 36-year-old fan favourite.
According to Tokyo Sports, Kitamura felt unwell on Tuesday and called an ambulance to take him to hospital.
However, a report in his homeland says his condition “changed drastically” after that and led to his death.
The former New Japan Pro Wrestling wrestler and bodybuilder was nicknamed “The Wrestling Monster” due to his height of 6 feet and weight of 265 pounds.
Kitamura made his professional wrestling debut with the New Japan promotion in 2017 and won three consecutive All Japan Championships in the 96kg Greco-Roman wrestling class.
He also won the Young Lion Cup in the same year and many elevated him to superstardom in the squared circle.
But he suffered a concussion during the Ibaraki tournament in March 2018 and withdrew from the tournament.
He then left the team on January 31, 2019 after another injury while training and retired from professional wrestling.
Kitamura, who enjoyed an impressive amateur wrestling career as a youth before a two-year ban after testing positive for anabolic steroids ruined any hopes of representing his nation at the Olympics, he took up bodybuilding.
He then made his MMA debut last November after joining RIZIN, but lost to Bobby Ologun via rear-end choke in the second round.
The charismatic Kitamura was also a YouTuber and ran his own channel which was called “Bulk Academy Katsuya Kitamura”.
As news of his death circulated, fans took to Twitter to pay their respects to the late star.
“RIP Katsuya Kitamura what a tragedy,” wrote one mourner.
Another commented: “Wow terrible news. RIP Katsuya Kitamura.
While another tweeted: “To hear that Katsuya Kitamura at 36 is a shock. Dude was living his best life. Live life to the full, like him!