SAO PAULO, Brazil – Helio Gracie, one of the main creators ofthat gained worldwide popularity, has died. He was 95.
Gracie died Thursday morning and was buried in the afternoon near his home in the mountain resort town of Petropolis near Rio de Janeiro, according to a short statement posted on the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy Web site.
The Agencia Estado news service said he died of pneumonia.
Gracie introduced a series of adaptations to traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu that emphasized leverage and position as a way to compensate for size differences among opponents.
More than 40 sons and grandsons of Gracie and his brother Carlos helped popularize the mixed martial art around the world.
One of Gracie's sons, Rorion, was a founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a hugely popular martial-arts combat sport in the United States, where it is seen as a more exciting alternative to boxing and wrestling.
Gracie is survived by his wife and nine children.