British Judo Star Jamie McDonald Dies Aged 26

Stand Up To Cancer/Channel 4

British judo star Jamie MacDonald has died after a battle with cancer at the age of 26.

Jamie was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2015.

He learned of the tragic news only months after competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Former Welsh team-mate, Olympian Natalie Powell described MacDonald as one of the ‘cleverest, kindest guys.’

She wrote in a tweet:

Absolute devastated to hear that Jamie MacDonald has lost battle with cancer.

Truly one of the cleverest, kindest, funniest guys I’ve had the pleasure of knowing!

His courage over the last few years has been incredible!

Jamie’s passing was confirmed by British Judo through their Twitter account.

They wrote:

Everyone at British Judo would like to extend our deepest condolences to Jamie MacDonald’s family and friends after he passed away following a battle with cancer. RIP Jamie.

Jamie told Wales Online in 2015:

The last couple of years I had been a full-time athlete and never had any signs that there was anything wrong.

I graduated from Cardiff University in the summer and started full-time work, moving to Exeter in September.

I started getting headaches shortly afterwards but put it down to changing environment and being at a computer all day.

I was given some glasses but they didn’t seem to work so I went back and got another test.

I was sent to the hospital because of the optic nerve but I was told it was nothing to worry about.

It was after a ‘weird episode’ following a gym workout that Jamie was advised to seek help by his mother.

He added:

I’d got home and was watching TV and I got pins and needles in the left side of my face. It was literally like a complete left split down my face and tongue.

I didn’t panic because I’d had a shoulder injury and thought maybe it was a trapped nerve after going to the gym. But then it travelled down my arm, down my chest, down my leg and into my foot.

[Later that night] I was holding a bag of frozen chips and they dropped out of my hand. Considering I had spent more than a decade doing sport, where grip strength is fairly important, I thought it was strange. I dropped them four times.

Jamie later told his mum about the occurrence. She urged him to seek medical help, so he rang NHS Direct and awaited for paramedics to take him to A&E.

He said:

Because of what had happened they took me for a brain scan. After that the doctor told me I had a tumour on my brain. That was on January 6.

The doctor told me to go and have a few drinks and not to worry until we know more. I couldn’t face going home so I walked into Exeter, found a late opening bar and bought 15 shots of tequila for everyone. I stayed there until closing time and then slept like a log.

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.