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Andy Hug
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Martial Artist
    (September 7, 1964-August 24, 2000)
    Born in Zurich, Switzerland
    Heavyweight Kickboxing (K-1) champion
    Mixed Martial Arts debut (November 15, 1993)
    UKF World Super Heavyweight Champion (1994)
    Three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion (1996-98)
    Nicknames included 'The Blue Eyed Samurai' and 'Iron Man'
    Diagnosed with acute leukemia on August 17, 2000; died less than a week following the diagnosis, at the age of 35
    His first job was apprenticing at a butchery.
    A popular internet meme summed him up as a cross between Street Fighter's Ryu Hoshi and Freddie Mercury.
    'Hug' (pronounced 'hoog') was not a stage name but his actual surname.
    His trademark move was the 'Hug Tornado' - a low spinning heel kick dealt toward his opponents' thighs.
    He lost his first K-1 World Grand Prix match to Patrick Smith because his molars didn't clamp down on his gum-shield properly (dentists later fitted him with a modified mouthpiece which worked wonders).
    He struggled with depression after losing by KO to South Africa's Mike Bernardo and Dutch fighter Ernesto Hoost.
    His father died serving as a Legionnaire in Thailand.
    He was raised by his grandparents, but spent the first three years of his life in an orphanage.
    He was bullied in school both for being small and of a low social status.
    He showed promise as an Association Footballer, but opted to study at the Wohlen Karate School, when he was eleven.
    At the age of fifteen, he won the Swiss Oyama Cup, a national Kyokushin Karate Competition (1979).
    He was the first Swiss national to advance to the world's top ranking in Kyokushinkai Karate.
    He was the first non-Asian to become professional world champion in full-contact karate.
    He was the first Mixed Martial Arts fighter with a Karate background to win the K-1 Grand Prix (a field usually dominated by Thai Kickboxers).
    He was one of the greatest heavyweights in the sport's history despite being considered short - just under 5'11 - and despite having had limited familiarity with MMA when he started.
    His technical diversity, skill, and humility won him popularity in Japan, and it became like a second home to him (he remains a cultural icon among the Japanese).
    When his Leukemia diagnosis was made public, he released a statement on his website reading: 'This illness is the most severe opponent of all my fights. But I will win. As if I would stand in the ring I will get power from your cheers and beat this strong opponent. Unfortunately I will not be able to fight at the tournament in October. I will fight against this illness in Japan and one day I will appear again with you. Don't lose hope!' (he died less than two days later).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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