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Tributes paid after sudden death of kickboxing champion

Andy Hug established a worldwide reputation. Keystone / Walter Bieri

Swiss newspapers on Friday paid tribute to the world kickboxing champion, Andy Hug, who died on Thursday of cancer in a Tokyo hospital. One paper even produced a special supplement on his career.

This content was published on August 25, 2000 - 08:28

The mass circulation newspaper, Blick - which followed his career closely - devoted its entire front page to his death. "I can't go on" were the last words he addressed to his wife at his bedside, according to Blick.

The paper praised his sporting prowess, fitness and charisma. And it pointed to his enormous popularity in Japan where he had lived in recent years. "Andy Hug became very rich and famous in Japan but he remained modest, polite and truthful," said Blick.

The Tages-Anzeiger said Hug had also become one of the most popular sportsmen in Switzerland, as well as being idolised in Japan. "He lived to perform," said the paper.

Hug, who was 35, was diagnosed with acute leukaemia, after he collapsed and was admitted to hospital last Thursday. He died after lapsing into a coma, and is to be buried in Japan.

The Neue Zurcher Zeitung commented: "Andy Hug always remained true to his philosophy of life and fighting spirit. And it was precisely this which his primarily young fan club loved. He always had time for them and never refused an autograph request. He was a true hero."

The French-Swiss press devote less space to Hug's death. But under the headline, "Andy Hug, the Samurai with blue eyes, succumbs to leukaemia", the Geneva-based Le Temps pays tribute to his sporting abilities.

It also says he was planning to give up fighting next year and devote himself to a film career. "He dreamed of Hollywood and when he was asked what he would like to read about himself after his retirement, he replied 'Andy wins an Oscar'."

Hug was six-time world champion, and had achieved huge popularity in the Japanese professional K-1 kickboxing league by the end of his impressive career.

Having started to learn karate at the age of 10, Hug made it into the Swiss national squad just seven years later. After winning the Swiss and European championships, Hug took his first two World titles.

In 1994 he added the Thai Boxing World championship to his list of honours before crowning it all in 1996, taking the master of all classes title.

swissinfo with agencies

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