Helio GracieThe legendary father of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Helio Gracie, passed away earlier this morning at his home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

From Sherdog:

Helio Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu, is dead at the age of 95. Gracie passed in his sleep early Thursday in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro, after he had been admitted to a local hospital a few days prior for stomach problems.

“He passed the way he always wanted to –- quick and fast,” said an immediate relative, who asked not to be identified. The relative said Gracie’s body would be buried on Thursday.

As mentioned, the burial is scheduled for later today, however, according to Tatame, it may be postponed since his sons Rickson, Royler, and Rorion were out of the country.

Helio developed Gracie Jiu-Jitsu after discovering his frame was too small to execute traditional jiu-jitsu moves he had learned from his brother, Carlos. It was this style of fighting that proved smaller fighters could defeat much larger opponents through leverage and technique. This eventually led to the creation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the early nineties when Helio’s son Rorion co-founded the organization to prove BJJ was the superior martial art.

Our sincerest thoughts and condolences go out to the Gracie family for their loss.