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Helio Gracie: 1913 – 2009

Helio Gracie, the grand daddy of BJJ, died in his sleep today:

“I created a flag from the sport’s dignity. I oversee the name of my family with affection and nerves of blood,” said the Professor, as his last worlds.

In October, Helio Gracie celebrated his 95th birthday at the Gracie Humaita academy, in Rio de Janeiro. Click here to see how the party went.

In one of his most famous interviews, published in the special 100th issue of GRACIEMAG, the professor had declared: “I’ve already told my sons that when I die I want there to be a party. No drinking, no debauchery.”

95 years of being an epic badass is a pretty decent run if you ask me. I would rank Helio up there as one of the most important figures in the history of martial arts … it’s hard to imagine what mixed martial arts would look like without Brazilian jiu jitsu. We didn’t spend much time talking about him here at Fightlinker, but here’s a post we made on his 95th birthday that gives you a glimpse into what he was all about.