Victoria Lee, a rising star in mixed martial arts, died on Dec. 26, according to a statement that her older sister, MMA fighter Angela Lee Pucci, posted on Instagram Sunday. Lee was 18.
“It is incredibly difficult to say this... Our Victoria passed away,” Lee Pucci wrote in her post, alongside a photo of Lee in front of a field of sunflowers.
“We miss you so much sis,” Lee Pucci wrote. “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.”
“Each and every little thing makes me think of you,” she continued. “From the sun rays, to the sunset. You taught us to see the beauty in the simple things. You were our bright light. Our sunshine. And that will never change. You were perfect in every way. The best person I knew. The most beautiful girl, inside and out. We love you Victoria. I love you Sprout. Until the end of time.”
Lee Pucci did not specify the cause of her sister’s death. HuffPost has reached out to the Lee family for more information.
Lee, an atomweight MMA athlete, won three victories while fighting for One Championship, a Singaporean combat sports promotion, according to the company’s website. In 2021, she defeated Victoria Souza with a technical knockout in the second round.
One Champion said it was “devastated” by Lee’s death on Saturday.
“We send our most heartfelt condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time,” a tweet from the organization’s account read.
Chatri Sityodtong, CEO of One Championship, shared a more personal statement about the loss of Lee on Facebook that same day, calling her “an extraordinary martial arts prodigy.”
“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,” Sityodtong wrote. “I always remember thinking how wise, thoughtful, and selfless she was beyond her years.”
“Victoria had the purest heart of gold and a brilliant mind,” he went on. “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.”
All of Lee’s siblings are involved in MMA.
Lee Pucci became the youngest person to win a world title in MMA in 2016, while her brother Christian Lee is the current and four-time One Lightweight World Champion. Her brother Adrian Lee won an amateur title in December.
The Lee family also owns a martial arts training gym, United MMA Hawaii, in Waipahu. Todd Atkins, who hosts an MMA podcast, tweeted Sunday that United MMA Hawaii sent notices to its members saying their memberships would be canceled. The gym’s Instagram account says the facility is permanently closed.