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BJJ Co-Founder Helio Gracie, 95, Passes Away in Rio


(Rest in peace.)

Sad, sad news for students and fans of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. From IntheGuard.tv:

Legendary master Helio Gracie died at age of 95 years old this morning, January 01/29, at his home in the mountain region of Rio de Janeiro. In preliminary information, Master Helio had not been well for the past two days and likely passed with complications from a general infection, as we were informed by an acquaintance close to the family members. The burial of the man responsible for the creation of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is scheduled for 5:00 PM today in the Petropolis cemetery.

According to Tatame, the funeral may be postponed, as Helio’s sons Rickson, Royler, and Rorion were out of the country when he died. In addition to those three, Helio is survived by his wife Vera, his sons Relson, Rolker, Royce, and Robin, his daughters Rherica and Ricci, and an army of grandchildren, nephews, and niecesAccording to GracieMag, Helio’s last words were "I created a flag from the sport’s dignity. I oversee the name of my family with affection and nerves of blood." Wow.

Born October 1st, 1913, Helio and his older brother Carlos developed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circa 1929-1930, refining the techniques of their judo instructor Otávio Mitsuyo Maeda so that smaller fighters would be able to overcome larger ones through leverage. In 1932, Helio began competing in challenge matches, in which the Gracies would take on fighters of all styles to prove that their jiu-jitsu was the most superior method of ending a fight. These "vale tudo" (everything allowed) contests were popularized in the U.S. decades later when Helio’s son Rorion co-founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship, selecting his brother Royce as the representative of their art. Today, knowledge of BJJ is generally thought of as a requirement for competing as a mixed martial artist. A moment of silence for one of the sport’s true godfathers…

Related: The Top Ten Gracies of All Time

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DutchMan- February 2, 2009 at 12:38 am
RIP master Helio!
SoulMan- January 29, 2009 at 10:01 pm
Sad to hear, the granddaddy was a trip, a courageous man and a rolemodel. Without his legacy MMA would have been "halfdone". It is Sad that all the good ones got to go, my condolences to the entire Gracie family.

Que el abuelito descanse en páz.

//SoulMan
Anonymous- January 29, 2009 at 2:41 pm
Were it not for GM Helio, MMA as we know it would not exist. RIP Helio.
Sickos- January 29, 2009 at 2:22 pm
A sad day in the world of BJJ and Martial Arts in general.

R.I.P...Much respect to the Gracie family...as Helios hard work and dedication as well as the Gracie name... will live on for centuries to come.....
Anonymous- January 29, 2009 at 2:09 pm
Didn't this guy once try to suck his own dick.
F'n Clownshoes- January 29, 2009 at 1:22 pm
R.I.P. and thank you

the man will be missed but the legend will live on...
dominicanmma- January 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm
thank you helio!

we appreciate everything you have done.

RIP helio gracie one of the greats of martial artist.
ValeTudo- January 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm
RIP Helio...

and just how does one even get a 10th Degree RED belt? he was a true badass!
agentsmith- January 29, 2009 at 11:39 am
"Nerves of blood"? Something's lost in translation there. Still a pretty badass parting statement though.
Erick757- January 29, 2009 at 11:32 am
OH WHO WILL COMFORT KYRA GRACIE DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME!
Meohfumado- January 29, 2009 at 10:57 am
R.I.P. Helio. I'm sure he's forcing vikings, mongol warriors, wing chun legends and samurai to tap-out in non-denominational Valhalla right now.
Bruce- January 29, 2009 at 10:45 am
R.I.P.
Darkside- January 29, 2009 at 10:37 am
Damn. Hell of a legacy to leave behind though. He'll be remembered forever. RIP
manutdfan- January 29, 2009 at 10:35 am
Thank you, Helio.
Jay Smith- January 29, 2009 at 10:32 am
Didn't mean to end there sorry. He is one of the last, living, true Taoist Masters. Meditating in caves as a child in the mountains of China and all kinds of "movie like" shit. The Gracies come from that type of mystique. Almost ancient warrior fighting scenerios. I mean this stuff was already going on when Master Helio was born in 1913. That's deep yall.
Canadian hoser- January 29, 2009 at 10:26 am
I hope the ufc shows some respect to the gracie family during there next ufc event.
Jay Smith- January 29, 2009 at 10:26 am
Anyone ever heard of Kwan Saihung?
munk- January 29, 2009 at 10:19 am
he revolutionized the sport and the art of martial arts. i had an honor to train with his son Rorion and his grandson Ryron. thank you for all you have given to martial arts :) r.i.p.
High Left Kick- January 29, 2009 at 10:17 am
bout F'ing time.
he will surely be missed by every real bjj/mma fan for his creations.
May he Rest In Omoplata Heaven.
Jay Smith- January 29, 2009 at 10:16 am
One of the last true masters.................RIP
Anonymous- January 29, 2009 at 10:16 am
Didn't one of the Gracie's get caught jerking off in public?
Sodak- January 29, 2009 at 10:12 am
Helio is a legend and an inspiration. I am thankful for the great art of BJJ, may he rest in peace.
Bootylam!- January 29, 2009 at 10:07 am
Fine, I'll do it first: He couldn't escape from Death's rear naked choke. Truly though, he lived a long [ shit, extra long] full, successful life filled with family and friends and made it doing what he loved. Nobody could ask for better. Celebrate his memory with love in your heart and a smile on your face. Even if it is a sad smile. Also, the man was 95! I mean DAMN...SHIT! Really, if you know anybody that old you know what I mean. RIP and all love to your family.
asian fart- January 29, 2009 at 9:57 am
RIP master helio.you're creativity through bjj has made me a better and stronger person.
Noah- January 29, 2009 at 9:50 am
Hest in peace
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