Celebrated Coach & Luta Livre Athlete Roberto Leitão Dies At 83 After Contracting COVID-19

Brazilian coach and martial artist Roberto Leitão has passed away at the age of 83, six weeks after falling ill with COVID-19.

According to a post on Instagram from his family, Leitão was first admitted to the Hospital Vitória in Barra da Tijuca after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was apparently doing well at first, but was hospitalized due to his age and history with cancer and cardiac surgery. On the morning of November 28, however, he sadly passed away.

A heartfelt tribute from the legendary coach’s family accompanied the news:

Today, at 9 am, Mestre Leitão rested. Thank you to everyone who has been with him throughout his journey and especially in thought during that last month.
The master fought for everything in life without ever complaining. Victorious for forming a family that learned the true values ​​of life, a competent engineer, a sensitive artist, son, brother, husband, grandfather and exquisite father, there was no one who did not like his company.
He made his love of fighting a school. He taught, trained, encouraged and stimulated many to sport and physical and mental health those who had the privilege of being close to him.
Rest in peace, you have fulfilled your path as a true master. We are grateful to have had the privilege to be part of your journey.
With all love, your children, grandchildren, son-in-law and daughter-in-law.”

In addition to being a fourth-degree black belt in judo, Leitão also had sixty years’ experience in luta livre, becoming a pioneer in the sport and founding Brazil’s first wrestling federation in 1979. He was a coach to numerous accomplished athletes, including Renato Sobral, Pedro Rizzo, and Marco Ruas. The loss of such a martial arts icon is a huge blow not only to the people who knew him personally, but to anyone who benefitted from the strides he made for luta livre.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here