12-Year-Old Boy Dies After Trying Viral 'Blackout Challenge'

By Bill Galluccio

April 14, 2021

A 12-year-old boy from Aurora, Colorado, has died several weeks after participating in the viral "blackout challenge." Joshua Haileyesus was found unconscious on the bathroom floor with a shoelace around his neck by his twin brother.

Forms of the "blackout challenge" have been circulating on social media for years and involve participants choking themselves until they pass out.

The young boy was rushed to the hospital, and he spent 19 days on life support. Doctors told his family that his brain was not functioning, and he was pronounced dead on Saturday (April 10).

"We would like to update everyone that this evening, after fighting the good fight on life support for 19 days, Joshua has gone off to be with the Lord. To everyone who has prayed relentlessly and shared our burden during this trying time, we thank you," his family wrote on GoFundMe.

Joshua's father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, told KCNC, he never expected his son to participate in such a dangerous challenge. H added that he hopes their story can serve as a warning for other parents.

"I don't know why people would do such things," Zerihun said. "This is not a joke. This is not a thing to play with."

Photo: Getty Images

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