SINGAPORE - Budding local boxer Shahril Salim has died on Thursday, two years after a collapse during training left him with a serious brain injury.
The 23-year-old former ITE College East student had been preparing to make his debut in a show at Marina Bay Sands in November 2012 when tragedy struck during a group sparring session at the Juggernaut Fight Club in Boat Quay.
The jovial youngster had been bedridden and unable to speak since the incident, communicating with family members via hand and eye gestures. He also had to be fed through a tube in his nose.
He had developed a high fever at his sister's home in Jurong West on Thursday and subsequently stopped breathing in the ambulance. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Singapore General Hospital.
"Shahril's suffering has ended, we believe he's now free again as he should be," said his brother and main carer Jufri, 31.
"His condition left him trapped. From someone who talked so much and was a big eater, he couldn't even grip a pen."
Shahril had undergone repeated surgery and spent time in various hospitals. At first, the mood was optimistic as he began to respond to treatment, which included physiotherapy to stimulate his senses.
Although progress was slow, Shahril seemed to be heading in the right direction and even appeared on the verge of being able to speak again at the start of last year.
He was allowed back home on several occasions but kept being re-admitted due to infections, with his family all but giving up hope of a recovery.
Friends and fans have paid tribute to the hard hitter on the Wake The Bull Facebook page, named after the moniker he intended to use in the ring.
A wake will be held on Friday from 10am to 12.30pm at Block 57, New Upper Changi Road, #08-1348, before his burial at Muslim cemetery Pusara Abadi in Lim Chu Kang.