Jiu-Jitsu legend Grandmaster Carlson Gracie passed away Wednesday morning (Feb. 01, 2006). He was 72 years old.
According to his son Carlson Jr., Carlson had been hospitalized for complications from kidney stones and he appeared to doing well as late as Tuesday evening: "He was cracking jokes last night and everything seemed ok. This morning he had a fatal attack and succumbed!" The jiu-jitsu master’s body will be sent to Brazil for burial.
Born on August 13, 1935 in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carlson Sr. would become one of the most prolific fighters in the history of the Gracie family and is considered by some to be the best mixed martial artist of his era.
He created one of the most powerful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teams 'Carlson Gracie Arrebentacao' and was responsible for many of the top Black Belt fighters and instructors around including most of the founders of BTT like Mario Sperry, Murilo Bustamante, Ricardo Liborio and Bebeo Duarte and Andre Pederneiras co-leader of Nova Uniao.
Victories over Waldemar Santana, which helped avenge the name of his Uncle Helio after he went down to defeat against Santana, and Ivan Gomes highlighted what was a uniquely important ride in the world of "Vale Tudo" fighting in Brazil during the 1950s and ‘60s, when few restrictions were imposed. During several decades Carlson was the defender of the family name.
Receiving his black belt from his father, Carlos Gracie Sr. the patriarch of modern Brazilian jiu-jitsu was iconoclastic when it came to teaching and refining the grappling art. At the time of his passing, Carlson Sr. had earned the rank of 9th-degree red and black belt.
After parting ways with Helio early in his career, Carlson’s efforts led to the creation of BJJ and fight academies around the world, including the potent Brazilian Top Team and Nova Uniao, which have churned out some of today’s best MMA fighters, including Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Vitor Ribeiro.
Brazilian Senator Artur Virgilio, a jiu-jitsu black belt under Carlson Sr., has directed the Table of the Senate be registered at the Annals Vote of Commiseration in honor of the man he called "the greatest MMA fighter in the world and the Brazilian idol in the 1950s."