A world-renowned jiu-jitsu master who was attending a friend’s wedding in Italy’s Lake Como fell off a seawall and plummeted to his death over the weekend.
Octavio Couto Da Silva of Dallas, Texas was walking back to his hotel around 6:30 a.m. Saturday when he went over the ledge, according to Italian outlet Italy 24 News.
Authorities think the 52-year-old stopped and sat on the low wall when he lost his balance and dropped roughly 16 feet into the water below.
Whether Da Silva died from trauma sustained from the fall or drowning has yet to be determined.
Investigators believe he was drinking throughout the evening, but “appeared to be fine” when he left the wedding at the Villa del Balbianello.
The combat champion had taken a taxi boat to Tremezzo, but separated from the rest of his group because they were staying at different hotels.
Da Silva — also known by the nickname Ratinho, or, “little mouse” in Portuguese — leaves behind a daughter, wife, and hundreds of Jiu-Jitsu students.
According to his cousin Rick Knight, Da Silva was planning to move his family to Brazil, where he spent the first three decades of his life before immigrating to the US in 2007.
“It is with great sadness that his family and friends around the globe struggle to wrap their heads around such a profound loss,” Knight wrote in an online fundraiser.
Da Silva was a “world-renowned 6th Degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black belt” who had retired from competing professionally in order to train his students, according to BJJ Fanatics.
During his time as a fighter, he took home gold medals at the 1993 CBJJ Brazilian National Championships and the 1994 Copa Atlantico Sul Championships.
Da Silva was one of the founding members of Alliance Barra Academy, a training school that has “significant notoriety” throughout the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world, BJJ Fanatics wrote.
He also worked as a consultant for other training academies throughout the US over the last two decades.
Dozens of tributes from his grateful students poured in after news of his death broke.
“My gym got together to remember you and share stories about him and his life,” wrote James Born.
“I strive to leave the same legacy of someone who was completely selfless and freely gave his talents and gifts to all who would listen. The world lost an absolute treasure.”
Former student Hunter Crenshaw shared an image of himself with Da Silva, writing: “Professor was not just a man in a gi.
He was a true leader, never showing signs of tyranny but always signs of a warm welcoming community. He helped so many good men/women around me be great men/women.”
“Still hard to process. No one had a more purposeful life or simply LIVED more than Master Octavio,” wrote Eric Johnson.