Helio Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu, is dead at the age of 95. Gracie passed in his sleep early Thursday in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro, after he had been admitted to a local hospital a few days prior for stomach problems.
“He passed the way he always wanted to — quick and fast,” said an immediate relative, who asked not to be identified. The relative said Gracie’s body would be buried on Thursday.
The youngest of Cesalina and Gastao Gracie’s eight children, he learned traditional jiu-jitsu by watching his brother, Carlos, teach it, but his small frame made it difficult for him to execute the moves. As a result, he adapted techniques to fit his limited physical ability and gave rise to modern-day Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Gracie is survived by his wife Vera; his sons Rickson, Royler, Rolker, Royce, Relson, Robin and Rorion; his daughters Rerika and Ricci, as well as numerous siblings, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.