The BJJ community lost this Thursday the 15th one of its giants. Hélio Vigio, a red-belt reared by Carlson Gracie, died of natural causes at 82.
A training partner of Carlson Gracie and João Alberto Barreto, Vigio was a great competitor in BJJ and vale-tudo, and in the 50s became an instructor at Gracie Academy on Rio Branco Ave. in Rio de Janeiro.
He was also a notorious referee present in many a memorable duel, like the first UFC, in 1993, and Royce Gracie vs. Wallid Ismail in Copabana. In the historic clash between BJJ and Muay Thai at Maracanãzinho Stadium in 1984, Vígio famously dried himself with a towel thrown from the corner, signaling resignation. He enjoyed letting fights run their course.
Off the mats, Vigio was a policeman who dismantled gangs of kidnappers. He was the father of Prof. Redley Vigio.
Vigio is being buried this Friday at Carmo Memorial in Rio.