Retired pro wrestler Katsuya Kitamura has died suddenly aged 36.
The former star – who won the Young Lion Cup after making his debut in 2017 – was hailed for a bright career in the business, but a concussion ended his run and he later retired in his early 30s.
Tokyo Sport has reported he died on Wednesday after feeling unwell and being rushed to hospital.
A cause of death is yet to be revealed.
After his wrestling career ended prematurely, he moved into bodybuilding and made his mixed martial arts debut in November 2021, as he lost to Bobby Ologun.
He also enjoyed some popularity as a YouTuber, sharing videos on his channel Bulk Academy Katsuya Kitamura.
During his short pro wrestling run, he shared the ring with the likes of AEW’s Lance Archer, former WWE star Davey Boy Smith Jr and current SmackDown superstar Ricochet.
His final match saw him team with Manabu Nakanishi in a losing effort to CHAOS duo Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano.
Tributes have started to pour in from fans following the tragic news, with many fans mourning his loss while pointing out his early potential to become a huge name in the business.
‘Sad to hear about Katsuya Kitamura. dude was definitely going to be a huge deal in new japan before that concussion basically ended his career,’ tweeted one fan, while another added: ‘RIP Katsuya Kitamura. a massive what could’ve been for new japan…’
‘R.I.P Katsuya Kitamura. Gone much too soon,’ said a third person.
Yet another fan wrote: ‘Few wrestlers over the last decade looked like an unquestionable Chosen One than Katsuya Kitamura did in his time in NJPW. An absolute charismatic monster. Dude even had a full-blown yt channel devoted to bodybuilding and posted a video not even last week. (sic)’