Seven-time Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer died at the age of 39 on January 4 after a sudden medical emergency.
The American, an icon of the game, won seven of the first eight Classic Tetris World Championships (CTWC) between 2010 and 2017, finishing as runner-up in 2014 and 2018.
His influence extended far beyond his achievements in the game, as he inspired the competitors around him. In a 2018 interview with VICE, now two-time World Champion Joseph Saelee said: “I would say most of my gameplay is based off Jonas’s gameplay. I try to play exactly like him for the most part.”
Jonas was also a popular Twitch streamer, with 25k followers. Such was his greatness, he went viral in 2018 after accidentally breaking the then world record for quickest time to reach 300,000 points, achieving the feat in 1 minute and 57 seconds.
Tributes pour in for Jonas Neubauer
News of his passing was announced on his Twitter account on January 9. The message said: “He was the absolute best. We are devastated, overwhelmed with grief, and we already miss him dearly.”
It’s with a heavy heart that we deliver the terrible news that Jonas has passed away from a sudden medical emergency.
He was the absolute best. We are devastated, overwhelmed with grief, and we already miss him dearly.
Information to follow when it becomes available.
— Jonas Neubauer (@neubsauce) January 9, 2021
The news sent shockwaves around the world of esports and gaming, with tributes pouring in to commemorate Jonas and his achievements.
Tetris paid tribute, writing “Jonas Neubauer was one of the greatest classic Tetris players of all time in skill, spirit, and kindness.”
This is a tremendous loss in so many ways. Jonas Neubauer was one of the greatest classic Tetris players of all time in skill, spirit, and kindness.
Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and to the entire classic Tetris community, as we all mourn his passing. https://t.co/iOJWFdBuv0
— Tetris (@Tetris_Official) January 9, 2021
Joseph Saelee, who stunned Jonas to win the 2018 CTWC, left a simple message that said: “Rest In Peace, Jonas.”
Rest In Peace, Jonas. pic.twitter.com/jlz5JfkD2k
— JD (@JdMfX_) January 9, 2021
TSM chess grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura said: “I only had the opportunity to meet him once, but he was a very kind person who had a great enthusiasm for all games from tetris to chess and beyond.”
Deeply saddened to hear about the sudden passing of @neubsauce. I only had the opportunity to meet him once, but he was a very kind person who had a great enthusiasm for all games from tetris to chess and beyond. RIP Jonas pic.twitter.com/GGdgZUanwV
— Hikaru Nakamura (@GMHikaru) January 9, 2021
Chris Higgins, director of the documentary ‘Best of Five: The Tetris Champions’, described him as a “loyal son, great husband, staunch friend.”
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One fan has created a digital card, free for all to sign, which will be sent to Jonas’ family, with the opportunity for people to leave a message to one of the greats of esports.