Olympic Judo Champion Maricet Espinosa González Passes Away At 34 After Heart Attack

by Gee NY

Maricet Espinosa González, a Black judo champion who proudly represented Cuba in the 2016 Olympics, has tragically passed away at the age of 34.

The news of her untimely death was confirmed by the Pan-American Judo Confederation in a heartfelt post on social media, expressing deep sorrow at the loss of a judo legend.

The confederation’s Instagram post, translated from Spanish, reads:

“With deep sadness, we bid farewell to a legend of Pan-American and Cuban Judo. Maricet Espinosa, affectionately known as ‘La Mole’, leaves an indelible legacy. Two-time Pan American Champion, World Medalist, and Olympic Representative in Rio 2016. Rest in peace, our dearest Maricet. Our condolences to her family and Cuban judo. Your spirit and your achievements will last forever.”

Reports indicate that Maricet Espinosa González suffered a heart attack on January 21 in Armenia, where she tragically lost her life.

Wanda Más Váldes, a neighbor and family friend, confirmed the heartbreaking news, emphasizing that González’s mother resides in Cuba, while her sister and daughter live in Armenia.

In response to the financial challenges faced by González’s family, a GoFundMe page was launched on Monday to raise funds for the transportation of her body back to Cuba. The page highlighted the family’s insufficient funds to repatriate González’s body to her home country.

The Cuban Sports University, also known as Universidad del Deporte Cubano, expressed profound grief in a Facebook post, describing González as an outstanding judoka who achieved remarkable success at the national and international levels.

Born on January 2, 1990, in Havana, Cuba, González’s judo career saw her become a Pan American Champion in 2013 and 2014, with bronze medals from Grand Slams in Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Baku.

The university’s statement, translated into English, said:

“It is with great pain that the Cuban university sports community receives the news of the death of the outstanding Cuban judoka Maricet Espinosa González. At only 34 years old, ‘La Mole’ left for eternity, born in the capital, who stood out as a member of our national judo team, achieving two titles and a Pan American silver, all in the -63kg category.”

The university extended its deepest condolences to González’s friends, family, and colleagues.

Maricet Espinosa González’s passing is mourned not only in the judo community but also by those who admired her resilience, dedication, and outstanding contributions to the sport.

Her legacy will forever be remembered in the annals of Cuban and Pan-American Judo.

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