SportsCuban judo star Maricet Espinosa dies at 36, heart attack suspected post major surgery

Cuban judo star Maricet Espinosa dies at 36, heart attack suspected post major surgery

In the picture: Maricet Espinosa
In the picture: Maricet Espinosa
Images source: © Facebook
6:20 PM EST, January 24, 2024

Just a few years earlier, she participated in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The news of her untimely demise is rippling shockwaves across the media, as we recount the life of a young woman who left us too soon.

"With deep sadness, we bid adieu to the legend of Pan-American and Cuban judo. Maricet Espinosa, fondly known as "La Mole", leaves behind a unique legacy. Our profound condolences to her dear ones and Cuban judo. Her spirit and accomplishments will resonate forever," reads a heartfelt tribute on the Instagram handle of the Pan American Judo Union.

Subsequent media reports have revealed the cause of death to be a heart attack. It's known that Espinosa had recently undergone breast surgery. Whether this contributed to her health's sudden decline, however, remains undetermined.

Espinosa had represented Cuba in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She competed in the up to 63 kilograms category but was eliminated early in the first round by Israeli judoka, Yarden Gerbi.

Despite not gaining individual fame in world championships, Espinosa won the bronze twice in team competitions. She marked her individual successes with gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games as well as the Pan American Championships.

An icon in her homeland, Espinosa was most decorated on home turf. Affectionately known as "La Mole", translating to 'mole' in Polish, she was widely loved. The news of her death has thus sent shockwaves throughout the country.

This comes as another blow to the world with the recent death of a young athlete. Still reeling from 29-year-old pole vaulter Shawn Barber's death due to medical complications, the sporting world is now mourning yet another loss.

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