The cheerleading community is mourning the death of 30-year-old Eric Ortiz, who has been referred to as a “legend” in his sport.
An obituary says that Ortiz, who recently lived in the New York City Bronx, died on Saturday, October 22.
Ortiz was a 10-time national champion and a two-time world champion, according to CheerMAD.com. He encouraged the University of Louisville and GymTyme.
The cause of death has not been confirmed, but his loved ones said it was unexpected.
GymTyme, which has four locations in Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana, said in a social media post on Monday, Oct. 24, that Ortiz’s death occurred as the show was celebrating its homecoming weekend.
“Eric Ortiz was a force when he joined our program. I could do stunts, flips, jumps, dance and perform with some of the greatest athletes to ever step on a shoe on a cheer floor,” the gym said. “He was captivating as an athlete. He could do it all and he did. He was a leader in practice and on the competition floor.”
“Eric was such a sweet, amazing, genuine person,” GymTyme added. “There were always lots of smiles, hugs and reasons to laugh when he was around. His positivity was contagious with his teammates, program, and friends.”
Gabi Butler, a star of “Cheer” on Netflix, called Ortiz “the most beautiful soul” she has ever met.
“You walked into a room and it lit up with this bright light,” Butler said. “You were full of joy, laughter, happiness, light and love. From the moment I saw you, I knew you were special.”
Idris Boyer, who trained and cheered on Ortiz, said he knew Ortiz “was legendary” when they met.
“I called you the game changer,” Boyer said. “Your energy was undeniable and a force in every room you walked into.”
“It is literally impossible to have anything negative to say about the most positive, uplifting, happy and welcoming person I have ever met,” added Calvin Konemann.
A wake for Ortiz will be held on Thursday, October 27, at Sisto Funeral Home in the Bronx.