UFC fighter Corey Hill has died at the young age of 36.
Reports surfaced Thursday, stating the fighter had already passed away. However, his wife refuted the original reports, claiming her husband was still alive, and asked the public to pray for him.
“My husband is a strong fighter. Please everyone pray for him,” Lauran Hill told TMZ.
Now, after suffering from a collapsed lung and heart attack earlier this week, Hill’s longtime manager Patrick Reynolds confirmed to MMAJunkie that the veteran fighter died Friday afternoon.
“He was without oxygen for a period of time, and of course, with the lack of oxygen does come damage to the brain. But he is for the most part non-responsive,” Reynolds’ said earlier today. “It’s just unfortunate.”
“The UFC family mourns the tragic loss of Corey Hill, who passed away on May 14 due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 36,” the UFC said in a statement on Thursday, the day before Hill’s actual death. “Fans will remember Corey for his time as a lightweight competitor who fought multiple times for the organization in 2008 and was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter season 5. UFC sends its condolences to the family and friends of Corey Hill.”
The statement has since been deleted from the UFC’s website, and a new statement has not been issued.
According to the MMA site, Hill entered the hospital several days ago with a severe case of bronchitis. After undergoing an x-ray, doctors discovered a cyst on his lung and had to do surgery. Following the surgery, Hill refused a ventilator and signed a waiver of liability, according to a source close to the family that has asked not to be identified.
Corey rose to fame as a fighter when he appeared on season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter. In December 2008, he suffered a terrible leg break during a fight with Dale Hartt. He returned to the octagon in 2010 and proceeded to fight 11 professional bouts with a 4-7 record.
“IT’S NOT OVER!!” Corey’s Twitter bio reads. “After suffering the worst injury in UFC HISTORY, I’M STILL HERE!! HEART OF A WARRIOR!! COME ON BABY!! I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!! WHAT?”
Along with his wife Lauran, Hill leaves behind three children: daughter Seytia and sons Keynan and Corey.
[Image via YouTube video screenshot]