Helio Gracie, the Father of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, passed away peacefully in his sleep early Thursday morning in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro. The 95-year-old had been admitted to the local hospital a few days earlier for stomach problems.
The legend’s impact on mixed martial arts is indescribable. His small stature hindered him from executing traditional Jiu Jitsu moves, however he was able to transform those maneuvers into what is known today as Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
His son, Rorion, was one of the forefathers that developed the concept of the UFC, today’s biggest MMA organization. Helio’s most famous son, Royce, won the first two UFC tournaments in 1993 and 1994, cementing the Gracie name into MMA royalty.
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 and grandchildren.