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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 3:55 p.m., Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jiu-Jitsu: Ryan Gracie found dead in Brazil prison cell

Associated Press

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Ryan Gracie, a troubled member of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu dynasty, was found dead in a Sao Paulo prison cell today, hours after he was arrested on suspicion of theft, officials said.

The 33-year-old Gracie, who also competed in several international ultimate fighting events, was arrested Friday after allegedly stealing a car at knifepoint, crashing it into a concrete wall and then trying to steal a motorcycle, police inspector Paulo Bittencourt said.

Gracie was a grandson of Carlos Gracie, one the creators of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. More than 40 sons and grandsons of Carlos Gracie and his brother Helio have practiced the sport, helping popularize it around the world.

Bittencourt said that during the jail's morning roll call, Gracie did not respond.

"When I went to his cell, I saw him lying on his mattress," Bittencourt said. "He had no pulse and a reddish liquid was coming out of his mouth. It seems to me he died of a heart attack."

The Agencia Estado news service quoted Gracie's physician Sabino Ferreira de Farias as saying that at the time of his arrest, the fighter was under the effect of antidepressant and anti-psychotic drugs.

The Globo TV network, said Farias tested Gracie's urine shortly after his arrest and found traces of cocaine, crack and marijuana. Bittencourt would not comment on the reports. A receptionist at Farias' drug rehabilitation clinic said he was not available.

The AP was unable to contact Gracie's family or his attorney, Rodrigo Souto de Assis Silva.

Gracie's body was taken to the city morgue, where the cause of death will be determined by forensic experts, Bittencourt said.