Rising mixed martial arts star Victoria Lee has died at the age of 18, her family has confirmed.
The Hawaiian was 3-0 in professional MMA, with all of her fights having taken place with ONE Championship, where her siblings Angela and Christian hold world titles.
Lee, nicknamed “The Prodigy”, died on 26 December, her sister Angela confirmed on Saturday (7 January).
“On December 26, 2022 our family experienced something no family should ever have to go through...” Angela Lee wrote on Instagram. “It is incredibly difficult to say this... Our Victoria passed away.
“She has gone too soon and our family has been completely devastated since then. We miss her. More than anything in this world. Our family will never be the same. Life will never be the same.
“Victoria was the most beautiful soul who ever lived. She was the best little sister in the world [...] We miss you so much sis. More than you could ever realize. We’re all broken. Because a piece of you was in each of us and when you left, those pieces were ripped out of us. We will never be the same.
“We love you Victoria. I love you Sprout. Until the end of time.”
The cause of Lee’s death has not been revealed.
Meanwhile, ONE issued its own statement, which read: “The ONE Championship team is devastated over the tragic passing of Victoria Lee. We send our most heartfelt condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time.”
In a Facebook post, ONE chairman Chatri Sityodtong added: “I am heartbroken by Victoria Lee’s passing. I first met Victoria when she was 11 years old. I watched her blossom over the years as a martial artist and a human being. I always remember thinking how wise, thoughtful, and selfless she was beyond her years.
“Of course, she was an extraordinary martial arts prodigy even back then, but I could see that she was so much more than that. Victoria had the purest heart of gold and a brilliant mind. She looked after others before herself. She wanted to use her life to help the world. I will always remember Victoria for the beautiful and precious soul that she was.”
Lee last fought in September 2021, beating Victoria Souza via second-round submission. The result saw Lee improve her pro record to 3-0, with all of her wins having come via finishes. The Hawaiian had since been focusing on graduating from high school, per ONE, while planning a 2023 return to the ring.
Lee’s brother Christian holds the ONE lightweight and welterweight titles, while Angela is atomweight champion in the promotion.