Competitive Eating / Drinking Deaths category

Hentgee Lim has an article in medium.com about pretending to be a college friend of Keigo Kirino, who passed away due to choking in a rice ball eating contest, and interviewing his family.
A Creators.com column by Scott LaFee mentions the recent passing of Juliet Lee, which still has a completely unknown cause.
Daily Mail reports that Subhash Yadav passed away after being challenged by his friend to eat 50 eggs in Uttar Pradesh, India. Doctors ruled that his death was due to complications from overeating.

RIP Juliet Lee 1965-2019

MajorLeagueEating.com has sad and shocking news: an obituary for Juliet Lee has been posted. No details about her passing are provided and I have not been able to track down any additional sources of information.

update Fox 5 has an article with these quotes from George Shea

“Juliet was in very good health and if you think of the number of times competitive eaters attend contests each year, it might be 3-10 contests a year so its not over the course of a year, an extraordinary addition of calories or both. …i have never heard of any impact like that. I can say that it certainly had nothing to do with competitive eating,” said Shea.

update Sept 23 A commenter gives the date of Juliet’s passing as August 16, more than three weeks before the date of September 9 in the MLE obituary. A comment on a Germantown Pulse facebook post also gives August as the month of passing.

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Competitor in Fresno Grizzlies taco qualifier passes away

update #5MLE have made their first social media update since Tuesday’s tragedy with an Instagram post about Badlands Booker’s new video. The Sacramento Bee has an article The family has set up a fundraising page on facebook

update #4 Yahoo.com has an interview with the family of the deceased. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced that choking was the cause of death.

Another tweet promoting Tuesday’s contest as a MLE qualifier has been deleted (Original URL) Here is a screen capture:

update #3Saturday’s contest has been removed from the MLE schedule.

update #2 Saturday’s MLE contest has been cancelled (Fresno Bee article)

The Fresno Grizzlies have deleted the June 26 tweet promoting last night’s contest as a MLE qualifier. Here is a screenshot:

update The Fresno Grizzlies have posted an official statement which denies that last night’s contest was MLE sanctioned or a qualifier for a MLE event. The contest was promoted as awarding a spot in Saturday’s MLE contest. The Fresno Grizzlies held qualifiers in 2017 and 2018. Both competitions were won by Zach Armas, who took 6th and 5th place in the MLE events.

The Fresno Bee reports that a competitor in last night’s taco eating contest at the Fresno Grizzlies ballpark passed away. The competition was to have awarded a spot in Saturday’s MLE contest. I believe this is the first fatality connected with a sanctioned event in American competitive eating history. Details about the incident:

Fans at the game said a man collapsed to the ground in the middle of the taco eating contest. Emergency medical technicians then attempted the Heimlich maneuver and CPR before paramedics arrived in an ambulance and tried to resuscitate him, fans added.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the man collapsed.

Comments (62)

NZ Herald reports that Philip Andrew Ludermann passed away on June 29 after choking in a pie eating contest held at a rugby club in New Zealand. Stuff.co.nz also has an article about the incident with quotes from Nela Zisser.
A new playground in Clark, NJ was dedicated to Caitlin Nelson, who passed away after choking in a pancake eating contest on April 2, 2017 at Sacred Heart University.
Unscrambled.sg reports that a Japanese woman passed away last week after choking during the "Onigiri challenge", an attempt at eating a rice ball without drinking in under 30 seconds. The incident was livestreamed on her youtube channel. (translated Korean article).
24 year old beauty therapist Bethan Gaskin passed away after she choked after attempting to see how many Jaffa Cakes she could fit in her mouth in Bourne, England on February 22.
Znak.com reports that a 45 year old man died on March 8 while competing in a pancake eating contest in Vladimir, Russia. (via XSovietNews)
Patch.com reports that a playground will be built in Clark, NJ in honor of Caitlin Nelson, who passed away after choking in a pancake eating contest held at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT on March 30, 2017.
Former boxer Mario Melo passed away after competing in a croissant eating contest in Pinamar, Argentina. In 1990 he faced off against Michael Moorer for the WBA light heavyweight world title. The 56 year old was believed to have diabetes. updateTMZ has an article with a video of the incident (warning: disturbig)
The Hartford Courant reports that the family of Caitlin Nelson is suing Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT for allowing a pancake eating contest on March 30, 2017 that resulted in her death following choking. The objective of the lawsuit is not just to exact monetary damages, but to "expose the danger of amateur eating contests and to prevent other families from experiencing such a tragedy".
The Zambia Daily Mail reports that Nkole Mulambia, an 11 year old student died after choking during an eating contest held at his school.
The Hindu reports that a 14 year old girl passed away in Neelankarai, India after fainting in a samosa eating contest she was having with friends. This is the second competitive eating fatality in India in 2018.
Tamil.samayam.com reports that a competitor in an idly eating contest in Pudukkottai, India passed away after choking. Vikatan.com and puthiyathalaimurai.com also have articles. update Jan 18 New Indian Express has an English article which states that the competition did not allow entrants to drink. update Jan 22 The International Business Times has an article giving the name of the deceased as S Chinnathambi
Popular Science has a column asking "Is it possible to eat so much that your stomach explodes?" which claims that there have been six documented cases of stomach rupture due to overeating.
Newtown Bee has a report on the "Celebration of Kindness and day of remembrance" held in Newtown, CT on October 27 to honor Caitlin Nelson, who passed away after choking in a pancake eating contest held at Sacred Heart University in March.
RIP "Tiny" Tim Rauscheder, who passed away on October 30 according to these youtube comments. LA Beast confirmed the passing on twitter. 2013 Cleveland.com article about Tim.
Malaysian Digest reports that Nigerian college student Borokinni Sunday Pelumi passed away after choking in a bread eating contest held during the birthday celebration of a friend at a hotel in Port Dickson, Malayasia.
"Furious" Pete Czerwinski produced a video where he commented on the recent competitive eating fatalities and talked about his own incidents. He described choking during a Guinness record attempt on live British television, which can be viewed online.

Competitive Eating/Drinking fatalities, updated April 4, 2017

I have updated the list of competitive eating / drinking fatalities with 2015-17 passings. I do not claim this a full roster, just incidents which have been publicized on English language newspapers and websites.

Previous edition of list (last updated Nov 2014)

1906 Normburg, IL Cheese contest results in fatality and put two others in critical condition
1983 North Carolina Marine dies in donut eating contest at the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station
1999 Chicago, a 12 year old school girl dies playing “Chubby Bunny” in an unsupervised classroom. The goal of “Chubby Bunny” is to say “Chubby Bunny” after stuffing one’s mouth with as many marshmallows as possible.
2002 Japan, school boy dies in cafeteria after attempting a stunt seen on a televised eating contest.
2004 Canada man dies after choking in chicken wing eating contest held at Regina bar.
2004 Japan, housewife dies in bread eating contest in Fukusaki, Hyogo Prefecture
2006 Canada, woman dies in “Chubby Bunny” contest held at Ontario fair
2007 Sacramento, woman dies of water intoxication after competing in a bladder endurance contest sponsored by a radio station.
2007 India, man (believed to be epileptic) dies from breathing complications in an idli eating contest
2008 Wales, man dies in unplanned post party cupcake contest to use up left over buffet food. Articles about the contest do not make it clear if the contest was a mouth-stuffing contest or a speed eating contest
2008 Taiwan graduate student dies after victory in a steamed bun eating contest
2008 India, engineer at Nokia Siemens of India chokes after making a pastry eating bet at a company party.
2009 Kaliningrad, Russia Boris Isaev chokes in pancake eating contest
2009 Hyderabad, India Bandu Joshi dies after stuffing 6 laddus into his mouth
2010 Phetchchaburi, Thailand 66 year old Hing Laichan dies after choking in noodle eating contest
2010 San Pedro, California 13 year old Noah Akers choked on a hot dog topped with whipped cream at a fundraiser for Haiti
2011 Tokmak, Ukraine 77 year old Ivan Mendel wins dumpling eating contest, then dies
2011 Timonium, Maryland (near death experience) Michael Solano lacks a pulse for four minutes after choking at a crab cake eating contest, then recovers after hospitalization
2012 Deerfield Beach, Florida Eddy Archbold dies after winning an insect eating contest held at a reptile store
2012 Surrey, BC Samaljit Aulakh experiences brain damage after choking in a gulab jamun eating contest. As of July 2013, he remained hospitalized.
2012 Tunisia Dau Fatnassi dies after eating 28 raw eggs to win a bet
2013 India, 13 year old schoolboy Bharat Sharma chokes to death after attempting to swallow two idlis
2013 England Sharon Dixon passes away after choking on boiled eggs at a pub’s eating contest
2013 Australia 64 year old Bruce Holland experiences a fatal heart attack while participating in a tavern’s chilli pie eating contest
2013 Spain Joaquín Alcaraz Gracia passes away after winning a beer drinking contest
2013 Romania unnamed 60 year old chokes to death in a sausage eating contest.
2014 England Gary Mark Sims choked after attempting to swallow three eggs at a time at a pub in Berkeley, England
2014 Custer, SD Walter Eagle Tail chokes to death in a July 3 hot dog eating contest
2014 Nellukuthupara, India Kandamuthan chokes in an idli eating contest
2014 Staryl, Ukraine Lyana Koroleva experiences a heart attack while waiting to receive a prize for winning a vareniki (dumpling) eating contest
2015 Uganda 30 year old man passes away after eating 8 mandazzis (doughnuts). He did not drink any water
2016 Indonesia Jakarta resident chokes on piece of chicken trying to qualify for a Kentucky Fried Chicken of Indonesia contest
2016 Santa Fe, NM Debra Harbeck chokes after competing in corn dog eating contest where participants simulated performing oral sex. She had had a blood alcohol content between 0.13 and 0.14 percent
2016 Kenya Eating contest held at a funeral results in blocked windpipe
2016 Japan 28 year old male chokes on rice ball
2017 South Korea Freshman orientation eating contest results in airway obstruction for female student
2017 Fairfield, CT Sacred Heart University student Caitlin Nelson chokes during Greek Week pancake eating contest, passes away three days later
2017 Denver Travis Maloof chokes while attempting the “Tex Ass” challenge at Voodoo Doughnut

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update April 6 Joey Chestnut has an interview with WTSP about competitive eating dangers update April 4 Voodoo Doughnut has suspended the challenge at all locations KUSA reports that Travis Maloof passed away after choking during an attempt at the "Tex-Ass" Challenge at Voodoo Doughnut in Denver early Sunday morning. update KDVR has an interview with former MLE eater Brian Beard about the fatality who says “Every competitive eater has choked. It happens.”

Choking in college pancake contest results in fatality

update April 10 The New York Post has an article about the funeral | Video about funeral

update April 6 A funeral mass will be held Saturday in Westfield, NJ. The official autopsy lists the cause of death as accidental asphyxia.

update April 5 InsideEdition has an interview with Fairfield Police Sgt. Mike Paris who says “Her mouth was compacted with pancakes, almost to her teeth.” (video)

The Fairfield Daily Voice reports that a college student who was hospitalizated aftter choking in a pancake eating contest at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT on Thursday passed away. The University held a vigil yesterday in her memory. update CTPost and TapInto have articles giving the name of the deceased as Caitlin Nelson from Clark, NJ. Her father, James Nelson, was a Port Authority police officer who passed away when the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001. update #2 The New York Post has an article reporting that Caitlin Nelson’s allergies were not a factor in the incident.

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The Korea Times reports that a college student in Naju City reportedly passed away after passing out following her competing in an eating contest held for freshman orientation.
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