I share the grief of the Cuban sports family over the sudden death of the great Estela Rodriguez, our first world judo champion. My condolences to family and friends. #Cuba mourns her departure, the president wrote on Twitter.
Born on November 12, 1967, in the eastern town of Palma Soriano, the former judoka was part of a golden generation in that sport in Cuba and won the first world title in the Open division in Belgrade 1989.
Her brilliant record also includes silver medals in the Olympic Games of Barcelona-1992 and Atlanta-1996 in the +72-kilogram division.
She also won four medals at the Pan-American Games, including two gold medals at the 1991 Havana Games in the +72-kilogram and Open categories.
Honored in the Pan-American Judo Confederation Hall of Fame, Rodriguez was chosen among Cuba’s 100 best athletes of the 20th century.
She worked as a trainer of the national short-listed team and in the Martires de Barbados sports team, in the municipality of Alamar, in Havana.
The former judoka died of a heart attack at the Joaquin Albarran Clinical Surgical Hospital, where she had been admitted to treat her diabetes.