The BJJ community was both shocked and saddened when news broke of the death of Orlando Sanchez at the end of 2022, and now the Los Angeles County coroner’s report has been released. One of the most surprising elements of the news was the fact that Sanchez was just 40 years old at the time of death, and had actually competed at ADCC 2022 just a few months prior. In fact, Sanchez had been an ever-present figure in the over 99kg division of the ADCC world championship for almost an entire decade before his death.
He made his debut appearance at the world’s most prestigious no gi grappling tournament back at ADCC 2013, before returning at the following edition to register his best performance ever. Sanchez won the over 99kg division at ADCC 2015, while defeating legendary competitors like Dean Lister and Vinny Magalhaes along the way. He reached the final again in 2017 but had to settle for a silver medal that time around, returning to compete again in both 2019 and 2022. Sanchez was a larger-than-life figure in the sport and was well-known thanks to his performances on the mats during his lengthy career.
The coroner’s report for Orlando Sanchez was made public by Los Angeles County and his cause of death was listed as ‘Fentanyl and Methamphetamine intoxication’, with the manner being listed as accidental. The place of death is also listed as his residence. Sanchez had always been open about his struggles with mental health issues and substance abuse throughout his younger years, although he often credited Jiu-Jitsu as one of the things that allowed him to turn his life around. He will undoubtedly be sorely missed by the BJJ community at large and his absence will be felt at ADCC 2024, which will be the first ADCC world championship without him competing in 13 years.