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18-Year-Old Athlete Dies a Month Before He Was to Compete in Olympics

via ET

J.J. Rice, an 18-year-old kitefoiler set to represent Tonga in the Paris Olympics, tragically passed away in a diving accident.

Born to British parents in the U.S. and raised in Tonga, Rice was on track to be the first white athlete representing the country in the Olympics.

His death, attributed to a suspected shallow water blackout while free diving, occurred off the coast of Faleloa, Ha’apai.

Rice’s sister, Lily Rice, expressed deep sorrow for the loss of her talented brother, who was close to competing in the Olympics and was praised for his heroic acts of saving lives at sea.

“I was blessed with the most amazing brother in the whole world and it pains me to say that he’s passed away,” wrote Lily.

Lily added, “I’m going to miss everything about him he was so talented and was amazing at everything he tried he was an amazing kitefoiler and he would have made it to the Olympics and come out with a big shiny medal.”

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