WESTBURY, NY: DNN shares with its readers its grief in learning that Ian Matuszak has passed away at the age of 20 after a brave battle with an aggressive cancer. DNN reported the news of Ian’s diagnosis of Stage 3 esophageal cancer, which had come as a shock to his online friends, acquaintances, and fans, back in December. At the time, we noted that this could not have come at a worse moment as Ian seemed poised to conquer the world. He had overcome his own physical disabilities to achieve academic success and athletic success. He seemed primed for bigger and better things, having accomplished so much more in life already than many other 20-year-olds.
The sad news was tweeted out Wednesday evening by former UFC Middleweight Champion mixed martial artist Chris Weidman, with whom Matuszak had struck up a close friendship. The two had met when Ian began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Dave Patton and Pete “Drago” Sell, black belts under Matt Serra, a former UFC welterweight champion. Ian was awarded a blue belt in October, shortly after receiving his diagnosis.
When Weidman heard the news, he invited Ian and his family to Las Vegas for the the UFC 194 weigh-ins at MGM Grand Garden Arena, where he gave Ian his fight kit and trainer Ray Longo welcomed him as “official team member”. Sadly, this exciting moment for Ian was also his last public triumph; however, he enjoyed the support and love of his family and numerous friends through his final days. Those who have spoken about Ian publicly always seem to note the same thing: that they felt their outlook in life had somehow been altered to a degree after meeting the always upbeat, ambitious, intelligent, and funny Ian. We extend our condolences and sympathies to those family and friends, and note that during his brief time with us, he touched more lives in a meaningful way than many will ever do in a lifetime.
Some Tweets expressing sorrow about Ian’s passing from his online friends are below:
“Ian was truly a light in this world.” – elkotron
“Too young! I’m sorry to hear this. Ian was a warrior!” – PeteinPitt
“He was an inspiration to all who had the good fortune to speak with him. As a mother, my heart breaks for Kerri.” – Krystal
“Ian was a awesome guy” – Smurfcock
“Ian was an intelligent, warm, friendly, and ambitious man. I only knew him online, but he left a deep impression” – Seederman
“Love you man!” – Vashier, as a caption to an accompanying picture
“I knew Ian from [Vashier’s] hangouts and he was always smiling and laughing,his physical handicap did not stop him in life” – Jeff Count