DENVER (KDVR) — Update (April 13): Joshua Haileyesus, the 12-year-old boy hospitalized after participating in the viral “blackout challenge” has died.
“After fighting the good fight on life support for 19 days, Joshua has gone off to be with the Lord,” an update on the family’s GoFundMe said. “Your prayers and your love have comforted us and we are grateful for your support.”
Original (March 29): An Aurora family is devastated after their son was found in critical condition from participating in the “Blackout Challenge.”
Twelve-year-old Joshua Haileyesus was found struggling to breathe on the bathroom floor. His twin brother attempted to resuscitate him before first responders arrived at the home.
Monday, a crowd gathered in front of Children’s Hospital Colorado to pray for the Aurora boy who is now on life support.
Earlier in the day Joshua’s father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, had a strong warning for other families.
“I would never imagine my son would do such a thing. The reason I came out today is to warn the people, everyone, that there’s no joke about choking,” he said. “This is not a game, this is deadly.”
The “Blackout Challenge” has been around for years, daring participants to choke themselves to the point of passing out in order to gain a sense of euphoria. Earlier this year, a 10-year-old girl from Italy died after participating in the challenge, strangling herself with a belt.
The dangerous challenge is gaining popularity on TikTok. The challenge also goes by the names, “Passout Challenge,” “The Game of Choking,” or “Speed Dreaming.”
Friends of Joshua’s family have created a GoFundMe page for those who would like to contribute to paying medical bills.