The world of Rainbow Six Siege esports experienced a tragedy this weekend. On Sunday, May 23, news broke that former Chaos EC player Arif "Next1" Keskin had passed away aged just 24 after a battle with COVID. The news began to spread on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, EU time, with former G2 coach Kevin "Sua" Stahnke confirming that he had spoken to Keskin’s partner, who had received the news from the doctors involved.
It was a little over a month ago that Next1 tweeted a warning to his followers to take COVID seriously, having had to check himself in for care after contracting the disease. His most recent team, Chaos, paid tribute to their former player on Twitter in the wake of the news breaking too, saying they were honored to have had him play in their colors.
While he hadn’t played professionally for a while, Next1 had continued to stream and grind as he waited for a chance and had plans for the post-lockdown world he can sadly never realize. Kevin "Sua" Stahnke, another member of the German Siege scene, spoke on Twitter about the pain of losing a close friend, and others in the German scene were also quick to pay tribute to their friend.
Next1's family asked for time to process the news and space on social media, especially with COVID considerations in mind, and the case shows the risk people of all ages can still be at despite the measures taken to combat the pandemic.
The tragedy comes just as the world of esports is getting back to "normal", and demonstrates just how far we are from normalcy really, and how dangerous coronavirus can be despite the progress made in combatting it. Rogue’s Leon Gids paid his own tribute online too, emphasizing the danger that still exists and can affect people of all ages and walks of life.