A Thai weightlifter’s victorious Olympic bronze finish on Monday became a moment of triumph and great sadness for his entire family back home. Celebrations were abruptly halted when the Olympian‘s 84-year-old grandmother collapsed and died while celebrating his success.
Subin Khongthap, passed away as she was watching her 20-year-old grandson, Sinphet Kruithong, earn a bronze medal in the 56 kg weightlifting division at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Kruithong’s family and fellow villagers were able to view his performance live via a massive projector that was put up in his village in Surin, Thailand.
Associated Press reported that the octogenarian collapsed while the other villagers were cheering in celebration of his victory. The crowd later realized what had happened to Khongthap and she was immediately taken to a hospital 210 miles away. Unfortunately, she died on the way.
“The initial assumption is that she died from heart failure, but we have to wait for the hospital’s result,” said a spokesperson of the local authorities. “I’m not sure if she was too excited or if maybe she was already ill.”
Kruithong’s grandmother told local press in an earlier interview that she missed her grandson but was happy for his Olympic stint.
“I cheer him on, fight fight! I miss my grandson and want him to be successful,” she said. “He does this for the country to bring the gold medal back.”
Kruithong’s third-place finish gave Thailand’s second medal of the 2016 Olympics following compatriot Sopita Tanasan’s gold victory in the 48-kilogram weightlifting category on Saturday.