Rising MMA star Victoria Lee died at the age of 18 in December, her family has confirmed.
Lee was one of the world’s most promising mixed martial arts artists nicknamed ‘The Prodigy’.
The Hawaii native came from a strong MMA background as her sister, Angela, holds the ONE Championship atomweight world title while their brother, Christian, is the ONE lightweight champion.
Lee’s sister confirmed that she had passed away on December 26 in an Instagram post on Sunday, January 8.
‘On December 26, 2022 our family experienced something no family should ever have to go through… 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 … [m]ore 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. The best daughter, the best granddaughter and the best godma / aunty to Ava and Alia.
‘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.
‘Each and every little thing makes me think of you. 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.’
Angela also asked for people to give the family ‘grace and respect’ during a difficult time.
Lee had been tipped to join her siblings as a world champion and had won her first three fights in ONE – the largest MMA promotion in Asia.
However, she had taken some time away from the sport in 2022 to focus on graduating from high school.
ONE chairman Chatri Sityodtong also paid tribute to Lee, sharing a Facebook post that read:
‘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.’