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MMA fighter, jiujitsu instructor Joe Camacho dies in West Covina

Veteran mixed-martial arts fighter and jiujitsu instructor Joe Camacho died Monday morning at a West Covina hospital, police said.

Paramedics took Camacho, 41, from his girlfriend's home in West Covina to Queen of the Valley Hospital early Monday after he had "difficultly breathing," according to the West Covina Police Department.

Though paramedics performed CPR, Camacho was pronounced dead at the hospital, police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.

Lopez said police were waiting for coroner's officials to determine a cause of death, but noted there were no obvious signs of foul play. He declined to comment on tweets from those who knew Camacho who said he died of a heart attack.

"We're not going to speculate," Lopez said. "There will be lots of speculation, especially with him just coming off a competition."

Camacho, a Los Angeles native, held a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu and participated in numerous competitions spanning roughly 15 years. He most recently fought with Bellator MMA and was a former "King of the Cage" lightweight world champion and California Combat Champion, according to a Facebook page for his academy.

Dozens of people have offered condolences on social media, including the academy's Facebook page. One person called Camacho's death a "very sad day for the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world."

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+

kate.mather@latimes.com

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