Cuban Olympic judo wrestler dies at 34 after reported breast enhancement surgery


Maricet Espinosa Gonzalez, a judo wrestler from Cuba, died earlier this week at the age of 34.

The Cuban Sports University announced her death in a Facebook post, saying they were “in mourning” and in “great pain.”

“On behalf of our teachers, workers, and students we extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues,” the university said.

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Maricet Espinosa Gonzalez

Nepal’s Phupu Lamu Khatri (white) competes with Cuba’s Maricet Espinosa during their women’s -63kg judo contest match of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 9, 2016. (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Reports say she underwent surgery on Jan. 21, the day the university posted about her death. Local media, via Judo Inside, say she underwent a breast enhancement, then suffered from complications and eventually a heart attack.

Gonzalez’s nickname was “La Mole” and a native of Arroyo Naranjo.

She participated in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and even won the Pan American Games in both 2013 and 2014.

Olympic rings displayed for crowd

The Olympic Rings are displayed on stage during the opening ceremony on day one of the Olympic Esports Week at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on June 22, 2023 in Singapore. (Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

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Gonzalez competed in the 63kg category (139 pounds), having been a member of the Cuban national team for 10 years before retiring in 2017.

Gonzalez’s death comes just days after the passing of another 2016 Olympic athlete.

Judo mqtch

Maricet Espinosa (white) of Cuba competes with Ketleyn Quadros (blue) of Brazil for the gold medal during the Women’s 63k category as part of Panamerican Open Buenos Aires 2016 at Cenard on March 12, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  (Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent via Getty Images)

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Shawn Barber, a Canadian pole vaulter, died last week at the age of 29. Barber was a 2015 world champion just months after winning the NCAA title with the University of Akron. 

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